Buffalo, New York – Mayor Byron W. Brown delivered his Annual State of the City Address today at The Statler in Buffalo. His presentation highlighted a comprehensive financial package for Fiscal Year 2023-2024 that included four budgets, including his proposed $582 million City Budget that was filed with the Buffalo Common Council earlier today. The City’s proposed Capital Budget, a budget for the American Rescue Plan and the City’s annual action plan will be filed in the weeks to come.
Mayor Brown stated, “These plans will serve as our financial blueprints as we go forward. From challenge to change – we have become stronger because of everything we have faced and the positive changes we’ve made.”
“The State of the City of Buffalo is focused and prepared for positive change,” Mayor Brown continued. “My proposed City Budget continues my ongoing commitment to fiscal responsibility. We will continue to make investments in core areas, including affordable housing, public safety, and infrastructure.”
These spending plans continue to invest in City residents, with a focus on people who need it most. Mayor Brown stated, “Most importantly we are investing in our people, and the people who need it most. Today I’m announcing a historic one-time bill forgiveness program – this program will help thousands of struggling low-income homeowners become current on past due water, sewer, and tax bills.”
This investment of about $30 million in the one-time bill forgiveness program includes funding set aside by Governor Kathy Hochul to help East Buffalo homeowners become current. In addition, Mayor Brown directed the departments of assessment, taxation, and law to not hold a foreclosure auction this year. This will give struggling homeowners extra time to recover financially.
In order to keep up with rising costs, to maintain our ability to provide essential services, Mayor Brown’s recommended City budget includes a tax increase of 3.8%. For a home assessed at $100 thousand dollars, a homeowner would pay an additional $46 dollars a year.
He also recommended an increase in the Garbage User Fee between $7 dollars and $22 dollars depending on the size of the tote.
In an effort to assist city taxpayers in supporting Buffalo’s many cultural institutes, colleges and facilities, he’s seeking greater financial equity by calling for an increase to the share of sales tax that Buffalo receives. He’s also calling on the state of New York to change the Aid Incentives to Municipalities program to return to revenue sharing for municipalities.
Additionally, he stated, “The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s Marine Drive, Commodore Perry, and Shaffer Village are each poised for major change. One of the most ambitious redevelopment undertakings in Buffalo’s history. In the months to come, we will see major progress on all three projects. When complete, this unprecedented public-private investment in affordable housing will top one billion dollars.”
He continued, “Last year, we saw a high rate of development. In East and West Buffalo alone, there was over
$300 million in project investment. In collaboration with minority developers, we are bringing new investment to many East Buffalo neighborhoods including Jefferson Avenue”.
The theme of this year’s presentation was ‘From Challenge to Change’, and kicked off with a video presentation, narrated by Buffalo Bills Safety Damar Hamlin. Mayor Brown stated, “Damar is one of the most resilient people I know. An athlete who met his challenge head-on. And embraced the changes necessary to move him forward.”