Mayor Byron W. Brown submitted his $32,900,000 Capital Budget spending recommendations and 4-Year Capital Plan to the Buffalo Common Council today. The spending plan includes $17.8 million worth of authorized bonds from the 2020 Capital Budget that went unsold as a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as $15.1 million in new authorized bonds that will be sold in 2021 for capital projects that are planned to begin next year.
In addition to the bonds the City intends to sell in 2021, $14.3 worth of capital projects have been authorized but unissued. This funding is for projects that, while important, are not yet ready to be undertaken during the upcoming year. In some cases, those projects still need additional design work to be done, additional funds from other sources have not yet been received, or additional preliminary work needs to be completed before the project can be properly undertaken. The combined budget of projects that will have bonds sold in 2021 and the authorized but unissued bonds make the total Capital Budget $47.2 million.
The Capital Budget is within the City Comptroller’s Capital Budget Cap and represents a reduction of $5.6 million from the amount that was authorized to be sold in 2020 and a total reduction of $8.5 million from the total 2020 Capital Budget which includes the bonds that were to be sold as well as the authorized but unissued bonds. The Mayor’s Capital Budget is only 2.1% higher than the Citizens Planning Council’s Capital Budget Recommendation of $46.2 million.
Mayor Brown said, "This year's budget recognizes the difficult fiscal situation the City is facing while at the same time ensures we are making the critical investments in infrastructure projects, City-owned assets, neighborhood resources, and community safety that will accelerate our economic recovery once the pandemic is under control. The projects the City is investing in were selected because of their potential to have an immediate social and economic impact for residents while also promoting inclusive growth throughout Buffalo. I want to thank the Citizens Planning Council, and its chairman Adam Perry, for their extraordinary work during some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable.”
While the overall Capital Budget is lower than last year’s in order to stay within the bonding cap, Citywide Infrastructure projects increased from $9.3 million to $10.9 million, with $5.9 million being dedicated to street and sidewalk projects throughout the City. Spending on Parks, Cultural Institutions and Recreational Facilities also increased in this year’s plan, going from a little over $6 million in 2020 to $9.9 million in 2021.
Last summer, the Mayor proposed a list of “shovel ready” projects that could be immediately undertaken if federal infrastructure aid became available to the City of Buffalo. When that aid becomes available the costs of several projects included in the City’s Infrastructure spending plan could be covered by that federal aid and free up additional capital for other projects throughout the City of Buffalo. Because the timing of the availability of that additional aid is uncertain, those projects will remain as part of the Mayor’s Capital Budget spending plan.