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Mayor Brown Releases 2012-13 City Budget
$482 Million Spending Plan provides residential property tax certainty, a business tax cut, and numerous quality of life increases.
Buffalo is investment ready!
BUFFALO – Mayor Byron W. Brown today released his recommended 2012-13 City Budget, which will be delivered to the Buffalo Common Council.
Mayor Brown’s proposed budget is $482,621,621.
“This budget reflects my continued commitment to sound fiscal management and conservative budgeting, which paid off this year with improved credit ratings and increased investment in Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown. “It also reflects the challenges facing many municipalities across the state – 15% increase in gasoline prices, as well as a 15.8% rise in overall fringe benefit costs and a staggering 21% hike in employee pension costs. Nonetheless, the budget I am presenting honors a 3- year pledge I made to city taxpayers last year to continue to provide tax certainty. The budget preserves the 15% homeowner rate reduction we achieved over the course of my administration, offers businesses an additional 8.5% tax cut, (a nearly 25% reduction since 2006) and provides increased quality of life investments in public safety and neighborhood improvements, making Buffalo a safer and healthier place to live and work.”
This year, Buffalo earned its fifth successive bond rating increase, bolstering Wall Street’s confidence in our city as a result of the significant and continued fiscal improvements. All three top credit rating agencies graded Buffalo in the “A” category – the highest credit rating in Buffalo’s history. Buffalo’s improved bond ratings have also resulted in the city’s lowest interest rates ever, saving Buffalo approximately $1.6 million in borrowing costs.
“As I said in my State of the City Address in February, Buffalo is investment ready,” said Mayor Brown. “With $750,000,000 in construction now underway in Downtown Buffalo, where the rapidly growing medical campus continues to expand and a newly revitalized waterfront has become a popular destination, investors from across the country and internationally are taking a serious look at Buffalo.”
Adding to the interest is the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his promise of $1 billion in state aid to attract new businesses and industry to our City. With Buffalo’s improved credit ratings, the City of Buffalo is moving, fiscally, in the right direction. My 2012-13 budget continues the momentum by adhering to financial practices that will further grow and strengthen the City of Buffalo.
Improving the Quality of Life in Our City
A number of new investments in city neighborhoods, public safety, and the overall quality of life are among the highlights of Mayor Brown’s Recommended Budget.
o This year, city parks will receive new picnic shelters, security lighting enhancements, playgrounds and other sport infrastructure, such as basketball courts and sports fields. Construction will also begin this year on the city’s first park for skateboarders in Lasalle Park.
o A new city forester will be hired to maintain and improve the city’s tree canopies, enhancing the aesthetically pleasing quality of city streets.
o Buffalo’s new recycling program continues. A new recycling coordinator is added to the budget. Thanks to residents’ enthusiastic response, the program already has shown record-breaking numbers.
· Reducing many categories of crime continues to be a top priority. This budget sets aside funding to run ‘Neighborhood Inspection and Cleanup Blitzes’. Targeted and intensive building inspections and neighborhood clean-ups, including graffiti removal, will supplement the highly effective City of Buffalo Clean Sweeps. The creation of a new “Police Strike Force Detail” is also added to the budget with a focus on neighborhood issues.
Mayor Brown stated, “By investing in new and creative ways to enhance the quality of life for our city residents, we will continue to strengthen the city, make Buffalo more attractive for investment, and stimulate economic growth by building on Buffalo’s many assets.”
Through law enforcement and other quality of life initiatives funded in this budget, such as Mayor Brown’s new ‘Inspection and Clean-up Neighborhood Blitzes’, and ‘Neighborhood and Business District Crime Prevention and Beautification Program’, the Brown Administration will build on the success of the Buffalo Police Department’s reduction of criminal activity throughout the City that includes an overall 16% reduction in crime since 2006. Buffalo’s homicide rate in 2011 dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade, down by almost 40% from 2010.
The 2012-13 recommended budget continues to honor a pledge Mayor Brown made to city taxpayers to provide tax certainty for three consecutive years. Fulfilling this commitment in year-two of a 3-year commitment is especially important during this slow economic recovery as many city residents affected by the recession continue to struggle to balance their own household budgets, and businesses seek to survive and thrive.
This budget continues to make Buffalo more investment ready and capitalizes on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment of $1 billion in state funding to attract new business and industry to Buffalo, making Buffalo investment ready with continued decreases in property taxes.
“We have established and maintained a strong financial foundation, while remaining focused on our core principles to improve quality of life, reduce crime and make city government more efficient and accountable,” said Mayor Brown. “We continue to take the necessary actions to make Buffalo vibrant through positioning the city for continued investment, economic development and job growth. As New York State’s second largest city, strengthening Buffalo will in turn strengthen the state as a whole.”
Other key highlights of the proposed Budget include:
Mayor Brown has been persistent in providing employment opportunities for city youth, as well as job readiness programs, to help them not only stay in school, but to excel in school.
According to the City Charter, once the Mayor submits his recommended 2012-13 City Budget today to the Buffalo Common Council, the Council must return the Budget to the Mayor by May 22, 2012. The Mayor may then veto only additions made by the Council. By Charter, the Budget must be adopted by June 1st and becomes official on June 8th.
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios