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Mayor Brown Releases 2013-2014 City Budget
Mayor Brown Releases 2013-2014 City Budget
Contact: Lorey Schultz
$482.5 million spending plan provides residential property tax certainty, a business tax cut, and does not raise any fees, including the garbage user fee; it also provides numerous quality of life increases,
continuing the progress in Buffalo
Click here to view 2013-2014 Recommended Budget
May 1, 2013 – Mayor Byron Brown today released his Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan. The $482,534,741 budget further leverages the City of Buffalo’s strong financial position to grow the economy, honors a three-year pledge not to raise property taxes, offers a business tax cut, does not raise any fees (including the garbage user fee), makes significant investments that will further boost the quality of life for youth, seniors citizens and all Buffalo residents by providing additional funding for education, community services and cultural organizations, while safeguarding public safety without making any layoffs.
Mayor Brown’s proposed budget is $482,534,741, lower than last year’s budget.
“This budget reflects my continued commitment to sound fiscal management and conservative budgeting, which paid off this year with increased investment and economic development activity in Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown. “My recommended spending plan is good news for property taxpayers in Buffalo. It honors a three year pledge not to raise residential property taxes and reduces commercial property taxes by another 3.2%. There are no layoffs and no increased fees. However, this budget does provide significant investments in education, community services, public safety and cultural support that will continue to improve the quality of life that our residents have come to expect and deserve in the City of Buffalo.”
This budget preserves the 15% homeowner rate reduction achieved over the course of Mayor Brown’s administration, honoring a three year pledge to freeze property taxes. It also offers businesses an additional 3.2% tax cut. With this decrease, commercial property tax rates will have dropped almost 28% since 2006. In addition, this spending plan includes increased quality of life investments in public safety, youth and education, senior services, cultural support and neighborhood improvements, while not raising any city fees, including the garbage user fee.
“As I stated in my State of the City Address in February, we made progress in Buffalo and there’s more to come,” said Mayor Brown. “Currently, more than $1.7 billion in economic development activity is underway in Buffalo, including a quarter billion dollar investment at the Buffalo waterfront coming from my plan to transform two surface parking lots into two new private investment developments, creating hundreds of new jobs. We are growing Buffalo into a vibrant city, where businesses are making new investments and where new jobs are being created.”
Buffalo’s continued progress and improved fiscal climate is noteworthy as the city manages similar financial challenges facing all of New York’s municipalities: a 14% rise in employee pension costs, a 4.9% increase in health care costs, and a 3% increase in fringe benefits. This budget continues to move Buffalo in the right direction by adhering to financial practices that will further grow and strengthen the City of Buffalo.
The budget has three overall goals consistent with the Mayor Brown’s three guiding principles: 1) Improve the quality of life for all; 2) Strengthen Buffalo’s fiscal environment; and 3) Ensure greater efficiency and accountability in the delivery of city services.
Public Safety and Quality of Life Initiatives
Through law enforcement and other quality of life initiatives funded in this budget, continued investments are being made that build on the success of the Buffalo Police Department’s nearly 20% reduction in overall crime since 2005.
- This budget provides $1 million for the purchase of new police cars and technology, and continues to fund the resources needed to address and eliminate areas of high crime, illegal guns, gang activity and drug trafficking.
- Buffalo’s ongoing commitment to stabilize and improve neighborhoods continues in this budget. This budget provides $50,000 in funding for the Neighborhood and Business District Crime Prevention and Beautification Program.
- The city will invest $6.5 million from a variety of funding sources, including $500,000, from this budget, to conduct nearly 325 demolitions. Since 2006, more than 4,600 structures have been demolished.
- During FY14, the highly effective ‘Strike Force’ will be made permanent. This budget also includes funding to add a new class of Buffalo Police Officers and Firefighters.
Investing in Youth and Senior Services
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. Mayor Brown continues to expand activities for senior citizens.
- This budget increases the city’s commitment to the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program by $40,000 to a total of $1.1 million, the highest amount in the city’s history. This will provide approximately 1,400 jobs to young people. Since 2006, the city has provided more than 17,000 meaningful opportunities to some of the city’s neediest youth.
- In addition to the $70.3 million provided to Buffalo Schools, which is more than 50% of the property tax levy, this spending plan also provides $171,000 to support the hiring of additional Attendance Teachers in the Buffalo School District to address the issue of absenteeism.
- To further invest in our youth, this budget allocates a third year of funding ($167,000) on a $500,000 total commitment to the Say Yes to Education Program. This initiative is designed to fulfill a student’s dream of a college education, with educational supports and free college tuition.
- This budget also provides other smart investments for citizens, including seniors. $50,000 will expand activities for senior citizens, providing funding for programs like the Cooling and Warming Centers, the Bowl-a-thon and summer picnics.
Funding for Community Services and Cultural Support
This spending plan also includes a substantial investment in community services.
- Buffalo remains committed to providing world-class cultural attractions. This budget includes new funding for a $100,000 competitive grant for cultural organizations.
- It also provides $160,000 in funding for improvements at the Broadway Market and continued support for the Buffalo Zoo ($136,000), Buffalo Place ($125,000), Kleinhans Music Hall ($50,000) and Buffalo History Museum ($5,500).
- This budget provides $100,000 to the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, $100,000 for a Marketing Campaign designed to attract new residents and businesses to Buffalo, $33,243 to the Police Athletic League of Buffalo and $11,000 to Americorps.
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.”
Growing Buffalo’s Economy - Tax Relief
The 2013-14 recommended budget continues to honor a pledge Mayor Brown made to city taxpayers to provide tax certainty for three consecutive years.
- 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 the 15% 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 3.2%, marking a decrease in rates of almost 28% since 2006! In simple terms, with this deep cut, a $100,000 commercial structure will save $939 annually.
- There will be no increase in city fees, including the garbage user fee.
“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 keep the progress moving forward, positioning Buffalo for even more investment, economic development and job growth.”
According to the City Charter, once the Mayor submits his recommended 2013-14 City Budget today to the Buffalo Common Council, the Council must return the Budget to the Mayor by May 22, 2013. The Mayor may then veto only additions made by the Council. By Charter, the Budget becomes official by June 8th.