DUNKIRK – Councilwoman Stacey Szukala raised several questions about Dunkirk Mayor A.J. Dolce’s plan to hire six new employees for the youth recreation department during Tuesday’s meeting of Dunkirk City Council.
The mayor said the six employees will bring in more revenue for recreation programs during the winter. The city uses a recreation facility at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds on Central Avenue.
Dolce noted activities including birthday parties and basketball league activities in the recreation center raise revenue for the city.
But Szukala said the funding should be used for other priorities.
“I have concerns about us not filling positions in the Department of Public Works,” Szukala said.
The mayor, however, noted that the cost of filling the jobs isn’t comparable, that Department of Public Works jobs are full time and union scale. Dolce also said the recreation program is a “money maker” for the city.
DPW Supervisor Tony Gugino said two new trainees have been hired to work at the water and wastewater treatment plants. Gugino said both employees, needed for a long time, will need to gain experience before they are allowed to perform required Health Department tests at the plants.
Szukala added that she is concerned with overtime costs in the DPW, but Gugino replied that the costs are currently under control and within the budget.
The mayor said the new recreation positions were approved in the city’s 2014 budget. The programs, he added, will start in January and continue for three months.
“If it works out, I would like us to have four months of programs next year,” the mayor said.
In other matters:
• A city resident requested that a diaper-changing station be added to the men’s restroom at the city pier. He said there is only a station in the women’s restroom and that fathers should have a place to take their children.
• Mary Deas of Dunkirk asked that Council members consider changing the times cars park on alternate sides of the street during the winter. She said the current time changeover time, 6 p.m., is difficult for her because it is dark. She suggested a move to daylight as safer for senior citizens and others to move their cars.