Buffalo, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown today unveiled his $568 million 2022-23 recommended City Budget, while also presenting his thoughts on the present state of the City and its future.
The spending plan makes critical investments in youth services, public safety, modernizing the City’s internal operations, and right-sizing revenue streams to address higher operational costs resulting from the rapid growth in inflation, fuel, and utility costs.
“Today, I’m outlining my Administration’s plan to invest in our children’s future, restructure, the right size, and modernize our municipal government, and focus on the social, economic, and housing needs of residents across our City,” Mayor Brown said. “By taking this comprehensive and community-driven approach to meeting the demands of an ever-changing urban landscape, we will ensure our shared success and leave a legacy that future generations can build on.
The spending plan totals $33 million more than the current 2021-22 budget, representing an annual rate of growth of 6.24 percent. This rate of growth is 2.26 percent lower than the 8.5 percent annualized rate of inflation.
The proposed budget will harness $52.5 million in federal stimulus funds available through the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Below are some of the expenditures the ARP will make possible:
Other ARP funds are being used to expand services and programs designed to address social and economic inequities highlighted during the pandemic. This includes:
The budget also proposes a consolidation of all youth services and programming into the Department of Community Services. This will shift approximately $1 million from other departments into the Community Service’s budget and enable better resource allocation, youth programming, and community center operations going forward.
Public Safety remains a high priority in the Mayor’s recommended budget, led by an additional $5.4 million for the Buffalo Police Department. In addition to the funding for the 20 new police vehicles, this increase will support 14 new detectives, who will significantly improve the Department’s ability to clear and resolve cases. There is also funding for ShotSpotter technology and an enhanced communications system.
Violence prevention funding also remains a priority in the budget. In addition to the American Rescue Plan funded violence prevention grants that will be released through the Neal R. Dobbins Restorative Justice Fund, Buffalo Peacemakers will receive $150,000.
Improving the efficiency of the City’s operations and right-sizing the workforce are also addressed in the Mayor’s budget. After years of workforce reductions through attrition and retirements, the Mayor’s proposal expands the municipal workforce by 60 positions. These will include personnel responsible for developing policies to assist the City to prepare for, and combat, global climate change, and additional personnel in the Department of Public Works, new attorneys, and affordable housing specialists.
The Mayor also proposes spending $1.5 million on a new Customer Management System (CRM) for the City’s 311 Call Center, and $88,000 for a GPS system that will allow the monitoring of DPW’s snow-fighting vehicles.
As part of the Mayor’s efforts to modernize the delivery of City services, the Office of Strategic Planning today released a Request for Proposal for the purchase of a new site for a state-of-the-art Public Works campus that will house the City’s non-emergency vehicles as well as a new animal shelter.
Inclusive, equitable, and holistic neighborhoods and economic development are also critical components of the Mayor’s budget proposal.
To ensure the City’s fiscal outlook remains strong the Budget recommends a property levy increase of 4.53 percent, which is the amount allowable under New York State’s Property Tax Cap. This is only the second time in his 16-year tenure, that Mayor Brown has proposed a tax hike.
“We must turn to our own revenues to keep our momentum going and continue to provide high quality services.
My proposed tax rate will generate over $6.6 million dollars more in annual revenue which will help maintain the investments in people and infrastructure contained in this budget,” Mayor Brown said.
The increase will raise the residential rate 5.02 percent and the commercial rate 6.62 percent.
“Despite this increase, the City’s tax rate will be $10.38 per $1,000 value. That is still less than half of the tax rate our city had when I took office in 2006, and still below the tax rates in surrounding municipalities and other upstate cities,” Mayor Brown added.
This will generate an additional $6.6 million in revenue while costing the owner of a $100,000 home $50 more per year, and most business owners will see an increase of $114.
The City will also raise the Garbage User Fee by four percent this year, along with other permit and license fees. For the owner of a single 95-gallon tote, this will raise their bill by $9.50 annually
The City has not raised these fees since 2018 and these fees will also remain lower than peer municipalities in the region, while generating approximately $900,000 in revenues.
Mayor Brown concluded his presentation saying, “Buffalo is no longer just a city on the move, it is a city with a direction and my 2022-23 Recommended Budget is the roadmap to get us there. Join me as we steer Buffalo toward an even brighter future.”
The 2022-2023 Recommended Budget can be found on the City of Buffalo’s website at www.buffalony.gov.