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Dolce, Ecklund Respond To Development Director’s Claims

The City Council’s two most-tenured members are firing back against a recent Buffalo television news report.

Anthony Dolce, R-Ward 2 and council president, and Kim Ecklund, R-At Large and Finance Committee chairman, took issue with a report by Buffalo television station WKBW in which Crystal Surdyk, city development director, said a $3,000 cut proposed by the City Council will take resources away from her department’s efforts to help the homeless.

“That small amount that they’re proposing to cut could go a long way in our efforts,” Surdyk told the television station.

Dolce and Ecklund said Mayor Eddie Sundquist vetoed that $3,000 cut as well as three other lines in the budget the council approved in late November. But, that is where the agreement ends.

“The mayor did recently issue four vetoes to the City Council budget that was approved unanimously on Nov. 28, 2022,” Ecklund and Dolce said in a statement. “One of the vetoes was specifically for the removal of $3,000 from the Department of Development budget recommendation from the executive (Mayor’s) budget. While this amount was never designated to fund anything specifically for the homeless nor communicated that was the intention, the council made a $3,000 cut to a $5,000 increase — still providing an increase over the 2022 budget. In 2022 this same department received a $10,000 increase over 2021 and therefore was at a $12,000 increase from 2021. This budget was presented to the council with approximately $500,000 in errors and every department had to be evaluated and cut in places to make up this difference considering we are close to our constitutional tax limit. While we completely understand no one wants a cut we don’t appreciate the false narrative being shared considering the recent story which aired.”

Dolce and Ecklund noted the city recently received a $194,000 grant from the federal Housing and Urban Development department to address homelessness in Jamestown.

A story on Page 1 of today’s Post-Journal states the city is moving forward with its emergency homeless shelter plans to address the increased need for “Code Blue” sheltering in Jamestown this year.

Sundquist told The Post-Journal the city has been working directly with the county as it finalizes a homeless shelter funding plan to submit to the state. Sundquist said the city has also submitted a finalized funding plan to the federal government in order to secure funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

See today’s story for more information on how the city plans to pay for its homeless plans.

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