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Press Releases > 2016-2017 Recommended City Budget

2016-2017 Recommended City Budget


MAYOR BROWN RELEASES FISCAL YEAR 2016-2017 RECOMMENDED CITY BUDGET

April 29, 2016 – Mayor Byron W. Brown today presented his 11th on-time, balanced and responsible Recommended Budget for the City of Buffalo. In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, he announced that the city will continue to build on the strong economic foundation, carefully constructed over the past decade, furthering his mission of reclaiming Buffalo’s place among the great cities of the United States. 

Mayor Brown stated, “Today, I am here before you once again, to present a balanced, responsible, Recommended Budget for the City of Buffalo. In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, we will continue to build on the strong economic foundation we have carefully constructed over the past decade, furthering my mission of reclaiming our place among the great cities of the United States.  I am confident that this financial document is a solid blueprint for ensuring that a renewed optimism and a real opportunity for prosperity reaches every city resident.  Additionally, I have devoted significant resources toward modernizing the delivery of City services, to make government more responsive, efficient and accessible for all of our residents.”

Earlier this year, Mayor Brown delivered his tenth State of the City address, which illustrated the real aspects of the economic renaissance that his administration has worked hard to achieve over the past decade.  He cited the over $5.5 billion in new economic development activity that’s underway and expected to create over 12,000 new jobs, the substantial brick and mortar investments, Buffalo’s competitive real estate market, enhanced quality of life in neighborhoods citywide, revitalized waterfront and more.

He continued, “I’m very proud of these facts. These all directly result in investor confidence, which improves our bond ratings and our credit ratings and contributes to the willingness of our State and Federal partners to provide us with additional opportunities and resources.  It also enhances our ability to develop a budget and a spending plan that continues to promote economic development and investment in our city.” 

Below are highlights of Mayor Brown’s FY 2016-2017 Recommended City Budget.

Budget Highlights

Mayor Byron Brown’s recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 totals approximately $494 million.
This represents a slight increase of $729,885 dollars -- less than 1%. 

  • Taps into Buffalo’s fund balance, but carefully remains within the parameters of the four year plan at $10 million, leaving an unassigned fund balance of $33 million. 
  • Buffalo’s ‘Rainy Day’ Fund holds reserves of $37 million.
  • It’s anticipated the city will close its books on Fiscal Year 2015-16 with a $4 million dollar budget surplus.
  • After applying the State Tax Formula and staying below the cap, Mayor Brown’s pledge to hold the line on property taxes stands, as the city’s property tax and PILOT revenue will remain consistent with last year at $142.8 million.
  • To continue to attract new residents and investment to Buffalo, Mayor Brown’s administration has cut commercial property tax rates by almost 32% and residential property tax rates by nearly 16%, since 2006.  Additionally, in concert with the City’s Capital Budget program, Mayor Brown will continue to assist in the long-term financing of vital infrastructure projects Citywide, including: Genesee Gateway, Bailey Avenue Bridge Replacement and LaSalle Park Roadway Improvements.

Efficiency

  • To sustain and facilitate growth, this budget makes a commitment to modernize the use of City data and evidence to further engage all residents, make government more efficient and improve the quality of life. This important component of the proposed budget will use fact-based and data driven approaches to strategically make decisions and adopt an even greater number of best practices.
  • Under this plan, the city will improve the availability and quality of data for consumption.  Knowledge will become a more readily available tool for residents and community stakeholders because the city will be able to provide more information, increase assistance, and, by prioritizing, releasing and maintaining its data publicly, be a more effective, open and transparent government. 
  • In an effort to further streamline and improve Buffalo’s licensing and permitting operations, Mayor Brown committed $275,000 for the purchase of new digital technology to expedite the plan review process.


Prosperity

  • In this plan, Mayor Brown allocated $500,000 to fund the operation of the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, located at the former East Utica Library.  It’s a comprehensive small business resource center, developed to support entrepreneurship and innovation for M/WBE and small businesses.
  • There is also an allocation of $75,000 for the review of contracts for M/WBE compliance across City agencies and departments.
  • As he continues to build our City of opportunity, Mayor Brown’s spending plan reaffirms a continued commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. He’s provided The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo with $50,000 in funding to support the work of the Racial Equity Roundtable -- a group of civic leaders who represent the public, private, faith-based, and nonprofit sectors -- dedicated to realizing a more equitable Buffalo. He’s also included funding to create a minority engineer/architect training program, and increased resources for his Office of New Americans.

Community

  • In continuing to focus on building strong community-police relations, this plan includes funding to hire the next generation of police officers, which will also achieve savings as retirements from the police force continue to increase.
  • This proposal includes $500,000 in funding to equip every on-duty police officer with an iPad and increases funding for the Peacemakers Gang Intervention Program to $150,000.
  • In addition, resources have been dedicated for enhancing security at Buffalo City Hall, at the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Mayor Brown’s proposal makes significant investments in Say Yes:
    • Its honors the third installment of his four-year pledge of $200,000
    • Provides $75,000 for the purchase of tablets for graduating Say Yes Scholars
    • Contains $40,000 in financial incentives to ‘Buffalo Senior Citizen Volunteers’ who tutor students in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools, Say Yes and Read to Succeed and an allocation of $60,000 for students and families who have good attendance records, and for those who demonstrate the greatest improvements in overall attendance.
  • In an effort to educate residents about how to ensure that their homes are free of hazardous substances, Mayor Brown will fund a Lead Educational Awareness Program through revisions to the City of Buffalo Rental Registration Ordinance. This plan increases the Rental Registration Fee to $20 for a single-unit rental and $40 dollars for a double-unit rental.  A portion of the revenue raised through this increase will support this important public awareness campaign.
  • Funding has also been increased to create an additional 100 Youth Employment and Internship opportunities, bringing the total number to 1,500
  • Funding continues for Buffalo’s vibrant Cultural and Antiviolence organizations through the city’s grants program.
  • This budget plan also provides funding for a Market Manager at the legendary Broadway Market and funding for more than 30 Clean Sweeps Citywide, as well as continued funding for popular organizations, programs and initiatives, including the Police Athletic League of Buffalo, Reading Rules, and my Annual Summer BBQ for City Seniors.


Quality of Life

  • Building on Buffalo’s world-class, quality of life amenities and events, and the $52 million capital investment in parks Citywide during Mayor Brown’s tenure, he continues to invest in Buffalo’s natural assets and community activities.
    • This plan adds six additional ‘seasonal’ laborers to the Division of Parks and Recreation workforce to help keep City parks beautiful, clean and safe.
    • Additionally, this spending plan further strengthens the city’s unique public/private partnership with The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, continuing to provide high quality management of the historic parks.  As per the terms of the current management agreement, the City will increase its annual commitment to the Conservancy by $100,000, bringing the annual base payment to $1.1 million.  This will increase the fundraising match by $100,000, where the City provides $1 for every $2 raised by Olmsted. The new cap will be set at $300,000 from the City if the Conservancy raises $600,000. 
  • Due to the increase and record number of participants at popular events across Buffalo, the city will help offset the additional costs for keeping events safe, clean and fun by asking Council Members to cap the number of fee waivers at a total of $1,500 per Council Member. 
    • Some organizers of major events will share costs for the services associated with these events.
    • The additional revenue from these initiatives will total approximately $250,000, and will be allocated to Community Centers to offset their gas and electric costs.
  • As Buffalo residents continue to recycle more, $125,000 has been allocated to support a new recycling incentive program, expanding the “34andMore Buffalo Recycles” campaign, and providing further savings to the City by reducing the cost of waste disposal.

Mayor Brown concluded, “This is a responsible budget, with a sound spending plan focused on strategic new investments that will make the City of Buffalo even more competitive for business growth and more attractive for residential investment.  I look forward to working with the Common Council as you review the details of the Proposed Budget, and continuing to partner with you, and all of our residents to build an even stronger, safer and more prosperous City of Buffalo.

According to the City Charter, once the Mayor submits his recommended 2016-17 City Budget today to the Buffalo Common Council, the Council must return the Budget to the Mayor by May 22, 2016. The Mayor may then veto only additions made by the Council. By Charter, the Budget becomes official by June 8th.