Reelected with 70 percent of the vote, Mayor Brown continues the remarkable progress and growth the city has experienced under his leadership. Since taking office, Mayor Brown has championed the renaissance that is taking place throughout Buffalo. His commitment to prudent and conservative budgeting has made Buffalo more competitive for investment, safer for residents and visitors, and fiscally stable. In addition to an improved credit rating, there is currently over $5 billion in economic development activity in Buffalo since 2012, the most the city has seen in decades. Mayor Brown’s Webster Block development competition process added to the momentum, bringing $250 million in new investment to Buffalo’s Waterfront.
Leading the City through one of its most difficult economic periods, Mayor Brown has also been able to provide property tax certainty to city taxpayers. In 2014, he lowered the homeowner tax rate by 0.5% achieving a reduction of nearly 16% over the course of his administration, while offering businesses an additional 1.7% tax cut. With this decrease, commercial property tax rates have reduced by nearly 30% since 2006.
After reconfiguring the city’s economic development activities into the Office of Strategic Planning, he has championed bold projects that are transforming the city: the return of two-way traffic to downtown Main Street, the development of a new zoning code, and the emergence of new downtown housing, making downtown the fastest growing residential area in the city. Mayor Brown has also pushed for the enhancement and expansion of Buffalo’s great educational system of colleges and universities, complemented by a public school system that is being strengthened by a $1.4 billion investment in renovated buildings and new technology. Mayor Brown pushed for the city of Buffalo to be an early supporter of Say Yes to Education, by committing $1.3 million to Say Yes Buffalo, a program that awards scholarships to Buffalo Public School graduates.
During Mayor Brown’s tenure, the following are among the companies that relocated their corporate headquarters to downtown Buffalo: New Era Cap Company; Labatt USA; BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York; First Niagara Bank. Other signs of Buffalo’s growth and revival include the completion of the new $140 million federal courthouse, University at Buffalo’s $375 million medical school relocation to downtown Buffalo, Catholic Health’s new $46 million Administrative Facility and Regional Training Center, the continued redevelopment of Statler City, Hotel Lafayette, Tishman Building, Larkin District, Richardson Olmsted Complex, ECMC Medical Campus, and the continued investment in Buffalo’s waterfront. In September of 2014, construction began on the $750 million SolarCity facility at Riverbend on the former Republic Steel brownfield site; this project will create 3,000 jobs in Buffalo. Under the direction of Mayor Brown, the city prepared for this opportunity in 2008 by purchasing the site for $4.6 million.
Enhancing this economic development activity is the continuing decline in crime in the Queen City. Since January 2006, Buffalo has experienced a nearly 25% reduction in overall crime. Public Safety has been a focus of the Mayor from day one. His Zero Tolerance Law Enforcement initiative targeting quality of life crimes as a strategy to reduce crime overall continues to produce results. Mayor Brown has also overseen the installation of over 200 surveillance cameras that are making a difference in various areas of the city in an effort to prevent and eliminate crime in commercial and residential neighborhoods. In 2008, in order to provide the safest learning environment possible for the children of Buffalo, Mayor Brown instituted a Police Chief of School Safety and Security.
Mayor Brown has spearheaded and sponsored a number of neighborhood revitalization projects. Since 2006, the City has invested more than $40 million to improve and beautify its park system, including a $2.3 million revitalization of Broderick Park, a nationally recognized final stop on the Underground Railroad. In 2012, Mayor Brown introduced an expanded, comprehensive citywide recycling program that has already increased the collection of electronic, household and other recyclables by over 80%, a huge stride in greening Buffalo.
Mayor Brown’s career in public service is marked with many historic achievements. He was elected the first African-American Mayor of Buffalo. He served five years in the New York State Senate. Sworn in January 1, 2001, Mayor Brown also became the first African-American elected to the State Senate outside of New York City.
Mayor Brown was first elected to represent the Masten District on the Buffalo City Council in 1995. He has won dozens of awards for his public service.
Mayor Brown is one of the 13 members of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Works Task Force. He also serves on the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council. He was named one of 2015’s most influential people in Western New York by Buffalo Business First. Mayor Brown is a Silver Life Member of the NAACP.
Mayor Brown’s entire family is dedicated to public service, and he is extremely proud to serve the citizens of the City of Buffalo.