Reelected as Mayor with over 60 percent of the vote, Mayor Brown continues to strengthen and expand the city’s economic development activities, improve the quality of life for all city residents, and emphasize greater accountability and efficiency in City Hall.
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. The latest sign of progress came recently when Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the city’s bond rating to A1, the highest in Buffalo’s history, citing Buffalo’s “stable outlook” and “significant improvement of the city’s financial operations”. At a time when other cities had their credit downgraded, Buffalo’s improved bond ratings have resulted in the city’s lowest interest rates ever, saving Buffalo approximately $1.6 million in borrowing costs.
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. This year, he preserved the 15% homeowner tax rate reduction achieved over the course of his administration, while offering businesses an additional 8.5% tax cut. With this decrease, commercial property tax rates will have decreased by nearly 25% since 2006.
Under Mayor Brown’s leadership, downtown Buffalo has experienced a surge of economic development, fueled by the rapidly growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, with nearly $1.5 billion in economic impact and one million annual patient visits. Mayor Brown has been a strong proponent of Buffalo’s revitalized waterfront, part of the $250 million Canal Side development project that attracted more than 400,000 residents and visitors in 2011. 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 development 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 $1.3 billion investment in renovated buildings.
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, the proposed construction of a new 96-room Marriott Courtyard Hotel, on-going redevelopment of the historic Statler City and Hotel Lafayette and the continued investment in Buffalo’s waterfront.
Complementing this economic development activity is the continuing decline in crime in the Queen City. Since January 2006, Buffalo has experienced a 16% reduction in overall crime, with the city’s homicide rate down 40% in 2011, the lowest level in more than a decade. 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. Targeting a variety of criminal actions, including gangs, illegal drugs and guns, the Buffalo Police Department’s Mobile Response Unit has contributed significantly to the City’s continuing reduction in crime. Mayor Brown has also overseen the installation of 125 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. This activity coincides with the addition of 175 new Buffalo police officers and 161 firefighters, hired since 2006.
Mayor Brown has spearheaded and sponsored a number of neighborhood revitalization projects. Since 2006, the City has invested nearly $30 million to improve and beautify its park system. Mayor Brown also introduced a city-wide enhanced recycling program that has already dramatically increased the collection of recyclables, 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 during his decades of public service. While on the Council, Mayor Brown was called “bright, creative and hardworking,” in a Buffalo News survey and was recognized in 1989 Ebony Magazine as one of the “30 Leaders of the Future”.
Mayor Brown was recently named one of 13 members on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Works Task Force. He also serves on the Governor’s Regional Economic Council. He was named one of 2012’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.