Buffalo, NY—Mayor Byron W. Brown, Common Council President Darius Pridgen, Majority Leader David Rivera, Council President Pro Tempore Christopher Scanlon, and the other members of the Common Council today announced the adoption of the City of Buffalo’s Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Operating Budget.
Mayor Brown said, “This year’s budget is a win for the residents of our City. Not only will it make critical investments to enhance and improve the services people rely on, but it also places the City on sound fiscal footing that will be the foundation for a stronger economic and fiscal outlook,” Mayor Brown said. “I want to thank my colleagues in government in the Common Council, especially the Council’s leadership of President Darius Pridgen, Majority Leader Rivera, and President Pro Tempore Scanlon—as well as the other members— who worked tirelessly with my Administration to craft a budget that keeps Buffalo’s progress moving forward.”
This Budget does not include funding for ShotSpotter technology, will not increase any user fees, and raises property taxes by a modest 3.5 percent.
It makes significant investments in programs and services designed to address the needs of Buffalo’s Black and East Side residents through job-training, increased public safety, and small business development programs administered by the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center.
The spending plan is approximately $30 million more than the 2021-2022 Adopted Budget, representing a rate of growth of 6.2 percent. This rate of growth is still lower than the annualized rate of inflation. Contributing to this spending increase are an additional $2.5 million for utilities, $2.1 million for gasoline, and $1.1 million for automobile repair and maintenance supplies over the amounts budgeted in the current year.
The City is also using federal stimulus funds available to make one-time purchases of 19 new Department of Public Works vehicles—including 11 new vehicles for the snow fighting fleet—at the cost of over $2 million and twenty new police vehicles for $1 million.
The total amount of federal stimulus in the Adopted Budget is $52.5 million. While much of this funding is being used to replace lost revenues from the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic which the regional economy has not yet fully recovered from; other funds are being used to expand services and programs designed to address social and economic inequities highlighted during the pandemic. These include an additional $1.2 million for the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program, which brings the total investment in that program to $2.6 million in the Recommended Budget.
The Adopted Budget continues the City’s practice of making investments in youth services. In addition to the commitment to the Youth Employment Program, there is another $845,000 in investments in youth recreational and educational initiatives contained in the adopted spending plan.
These include $500,000 for Say Yes and $150,000 for the Police Athletic League. 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 Community Service’s budget and enable better resource allocation, youth programming, and community center operations going forward.
In light of the May 14 shooting at Tops Market, and other, long-standing requests from the community to appropriately address crime, the adopted budget is allocating an additional $5.2 million to the Police Department. In addition to the funding for the 20 new police vehicles, this increase will support 14 new detective positions who will significantly improve the Department’s ability to clear and resolve cases.
The Adopted Budget also proposes $1.5 million for a new Customer Management System (CRM) upgrade 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.
Inclusive, equitable, and holistic neighborhood and economic development are critical components of the City’s long-term economic development and enhanced quality of life for residents. A new Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be created under the office of the Mayor and led by the City’s Chief Diversity Officer. This will consolidate the functions located in other departments under this new administrative unit. $500,000 is being allocated to the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center to continue supporting MWBE business development in the City of Buffalo.
“This budget will help the City’s financial and economic outlook grow stronger while also providing us the necessary resources to make our municipal services able to meet the needs of residents and businesses,” Mayor Brown said.