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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2012 Archives > May 2012 > Mayor Brown Releases 2012-13 City Budget

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.

Budget Overview

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. 


  • Growing strong communities starts with safety.  This budget provides funding for a new police class of 34 officers, and the current firefighter class of 43 firefighters.  With these new classes, Buffalo’s total uniformed police force increases to 802, the fire department increases to 719, making Buffalo a safer place to live and work.
  • Reducing crime and beautifying neighborhoods keep communities stable.  This budget provides $250,000 in funding for a new Neighborhood and Business District Crime Prevention and Beautification Program.  The program will provide grants to block clubs and business district associations for gardens, signage, security lighting and other initiatives to make neighborhoods safer and more attractive.
  • Buffalo is a Green Friendly City.  This budget sets aside $75,000 to purchase two environmentally friendly sidewalk sweepers to vacuum up litter, broken glass, bottles, cans and leaves, without disrupting pedestrians or street traffic. 
  • Buffalo remains committed to providing world-class cultural attractions.  This budget provides $220,000 for Coca-Cola Field, $136,000 for the Buffalo Zoo, $125,000 for Buffalo Place, $100,000 for the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, and $50,000 for Kleinhans Music Hall.
  • Buffalo’s aggressive programs to improve its sprawling park system and “go green” continue:

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.

  • Buffalo’s ongoing commitment to stabilizing and improving neighborhoods continues with funding to demolish more than 300 structures in the upcoming year.  With this infusion of resources, the city is on target to meet its “5 in 5” pledge to demolish 5,000 structures in five years, and rehabilitate another 500.  Since 2006, 4,379 residential and commercial buildings, as well as scores of adjacent and smaller structures, have been demolished with another 943 units rehabilitated.
  • To empower residents and further improve the quality of life by ridding residential properties of drug and crime related activities, the City of Buffalo’s Save Our Streets Task Force will expand its prevention programs.  This year, the SOS Task Force, comprised of various law enforcement and government agencies, will conduct 25 Clean Sweeps throughout Buffalo.

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.

Growing Buffalo’s Economy - Tax Relief

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.

  • Buffalo now has the lowest property tax rates in New York State in cities with a population over 100,000.
  • This Budget honors terms of a 3-year property tax freeze:  city taxpayer bills will remain substantially the same in the upcoming year as their last tax bill, absent major structural improvements that increase property value. 
  • In simple terms, for a residential taxpayer, the annual tax rate stays the same, maintaining the15% tax cut since 2006.  By cutting the tax rate, city residents with a home assessed at $100,000 saved $300 a year from what they would have paid had the tax cut not happened.
  • For commercial property owners, the tax rate will decrease an additional 8.5%, marking a decrease in rates of nearly 25% since 2006!   In simple terms, with this deep cut, a $100,000 commercial structure will save $844 annually.

“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:

Investing in Our Youth

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. 

  • This budget will fund 885 new jobs for city youth through the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program. Since taking office in 2006, 14,943 youth employment opportunities have been provided.
  • The recommended budget includes an increased commitment from the city to provide $1,060,000 to Mayor Brown’s Youth Employment Program.  This funding will allow the city to employ 50 more youth on a part-time basis, providing valuable job skills and household income.
  • To further invest in our youth, this budget provides a second year of a 3-year $167,000 annual, $500,000 total commitment to the Say Yes to Education Program.  This budget also continues to invest in the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood in the City’s University District, and the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s Perry Choice Neighborhood.

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.