Buffalo Tele-engage

What is Tele-engage?

Re-imagining Citizen-to-City Hall communications for the "new normal"

The COVID-19 crisis has brought about a transition to fully remote work, reporting and communication. We want citizens' voices to continue being heard, in an equitable manner. The Division of Citizen Services is leveraging video conferencing tools such as Cisco Webex or Zoom to enable direct conversations between Buffalo citizens and their City Hall leadership. Tele-engage will allow community leaders to request specific departmental representation at their group meetings, by simply filling out a request form. After the meeting, City Hall representatives will document their promised commitments and action items on a ticket which can only be resolved upon timely completion. This process will ensure that city officials are being held accountable for the promises they make at community meetings. Moreover, Tele-engage will improve computer literacy among citizens and increase their comfort level with remote tools. We believe this initiative will ensure continued and productive two-way communication between City Hall and the Buffalo community.

What should you expect?

  1. Identify which department you would like to request a speaker from (see list below). Note: Your organization can request can request each department only once every six months.
  2. Fill out the request form below. The form requires contact information and virtual meeting details.
  3. Expect to receive confirmation within 2-3 business days of your request submission.
  4. We will include rules and other details in this confirmation email. We can provide video conferencing training links as well.
  5. Please share the meeting access link with your attendees.
  6. On the day of, log on to the meeting 15 minutes before it starts.
  7. Tele-engage with your local government!
  8. We will send follow-ups and status updates on the action item(s) promised by the City Hall representative.


Available Departments

Below are the departments from whom you can request a speaker at your virtual meeting:

Buffalo Police Department

The Buffalo Police Department is available to answer your questions about community safety or provide general information about crime and policing. Based on the nature of the request, the department will assign a Community Police Officer (CPO), Chief, or other relevant leader to attend your virtual meeting. For specific cases that need to be addressed, citizens are encouraged to fill out a 311 ticket. Please note that all matters discussed in the meeting will be confidential. 

Department of Permit & Inspection Services (DPIS)

The Department of Permit and Inspection Services (DPIS) oversees all development and uses of private property in the City of Buffalo. The department’s mission is to guide residents and property owners through the license and/or permit process, in accordance with appropriate local and state ordinances. Based on availability, inspectors can be requested to provide information and discuss code enforcement matters at your community organization meeting. Please note that a Tele-engage meeting is not in lieu of submitting a 311 ticket. If you would like to discuss a specific case, please submit a 311 ticket here or call 311.

Department of Public Works

The Department of Public Works is responsible for maintaining city streets, public facilities, infrastructure, waterways, parks and other public spaces. There are multiple divisions under Public Works which span the following topic areas: city street construction, construction and repair of city-owned facilities, bulk trash pickup, street cleaning, garbage and recycling pickup, water utility, traffic safety and parks / recreational areas. Public Works officials are available to discuss and provide information related to the aforementioned topics.  Please note that a Tele-engage meeting is not in lieu of submitting a 311 ticket. If you would like to discuss a specific case, please submit a 311 ticket here or call 311.

Office of Strategic Planning

The Office of Strategic Planning (OSP) coordinates economic development activities throughout the City of Buffalo. The Office is available to provide information and discuss general community concerns pertaining to business and real estate development, planning initiatives, zoning, and environmental affairs. Please note that OSP speakers can only be requested for general matters. For specific properties or issues that need to be addressed, please call 311 or submit a 311 ticket here.

Division of Citizen Services

The Division of Citizen Services addresses quality of life issues through data-driven processes and innovative service engagement approaches. The division centralizes access to city services and information through the 311 call center, while coordinating outreach and neighborhood improvement initiatives alongside public-private partnerships and community stakeholders. This office runs Buffalo’s 311 program, Clean Sweeps program, Love Your Block, Landlord Tenant Engagement Series, Tele-engage, AmeriCorps VISTA program, in addition to other Block Club and community engagement efforts. The Division is available to chat with you and your organization about any general matters pertaining to community engagement, social and racial equity, and quality of life concerns.