Buffalo, NY--- Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood in accepting a $7,500 donation from City Creatures Hospital for the Buffalo Police Department K-9 Unit. Back in February, members of the Buffalo Police & Fire Departments faced off on the ice during the Blue Line for Buffalo hockey event at LECOM Harborcenter to raise funds for the good cause.
Mayor Brown stated, “The generosity of our community, even during a global pandemic, says a lot about who we are as a City. We care for our neighbors, including our animals. The K-9 Unit is a critical component of the Police Department’s mission to serve and protect residents and businesses in the City of Buffalo. I thank City Creatures Animal Hospital, their staff, members of the Buffalo Police and Fire Departments and our community for this coming together on this successful effort.”
The donation will help support the care of the dogs, including their medical bills.
Award-winning filmmaker Addison Henderson and local artist LeRoi C. Johnson today announced that they are partnering with Emmy-nominated writer/producer Matt Fleckenstein to produce a television series about the life of brothers LeRoi and Rick James. The series, currently titled Brother’s Keeper, is set to be the first project to go into production at Buffalo Studios.
Mayor Brown stated, “Rick James and LeRoi Johnson have left their marks on the global music and international art scene. To have a series about their lives produced right in the community where it all started shows the important role Buffalo played in shaping these two giants. This is great news and I look forward to seeing this project come together with the assistance of our skilled local film talent.”
Brother’s Keeper details the journey of LeRoi and Rick, from their early days in the Buffalo projects to their worldwide achievements. Henderson, also a native of Buffalo, shot his most recent feature film in Buffalo, G.O.D. (Givers of Death), which won the Best Screenplay award at this year’s prestigious American Black Film Festival. Henderson and Johnson have already received an overwhelmingly positive response from several major Hollywood studios and production companies interested in funding the project.
The new Buffalo Studios sound stage, located on South Park Avenue, was announced in October and is proposed to break ground this spring. This is the second major film studio being developed in Buffalo, which will attract quality film productions, add local jobs and generate additional revenue in the Western New York economy.
Mayor Brown stated “Sonwil Distribution has been an anchor presence at Buffalo Urban Development Corporation’s (BUDC) Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park (BLCP) for years. The 300,000 square foot distribution facility that they built nearly a decade ago has thrived, partly because of the excellent transportation network that surrounds BLCP. I am pleased that Sonwil’s President & CEO, Peter Wilson, has confirmed that his company will once again be making a major investment in the City of Buffalo. Sonwil has begun the design and approval process for the 2021 construction of a companion project at the 52-acre site that they own at BLCP, for a new state-of-the-art distribution and logistics facility valued at $36 million. As the Chairman of BUDC, I continue to emphasize the importance of the redevelopment of brownfield sites like BLCP and the Northland Corridor into productive land and buildings for future investment.”
City residents are reminded to obey the “No Parking 6 pm Thursday to 6 pm Monday” signs. We need to ensure that emergency vehicles can get down these streets.
Mayor Byron W. Brown announced this week that the Department of Human Resources recovered $607,000 from the Federal Retiree Drug Subsidy program, which was created in 2003 to help municipalities offset the costs associated with Medicare Part D reimbursements.
Mayor Brown stated, “Last year, the City’s Department of Human Resources conducted an audit to determine if we were receiving the full amount owed to the City by the federal government for the payments made on behalf of our retirees’ for their Medicare Part D payments. As a result of that audit, and our partners at RDS Services LLC, the City was able to increase its reimbursements by 79% this year. This increase in federal funding is another example of how my Administration is aggressively pursuing federal funding and investing in services that generate long-term savings for Buffalo’s residents.”
The City of Buffalo provides Part D drug benefits to thousands of retirees and relies upon the Federal Retiree Drug Subsidy to offset a large portion of the drug benefit expenditure. In early 2019, the City of Buffalo Department of Human Resources took the important step of having a thorough audit conducted of the Federal Retiree Drug Subsidy that was being received by the City. That audit revealed the City of Buffalo was eligible for a higher rate of reimbursement than it was currently receiving.
As a result of the audit, the City conducted an extensive review of vendors who have the capabilities to conduct audits of the Retiree Drug Subsidy. The superior enlargement and recovery capabilities of RDS Services, LLC, in comparison to the other vendors were the primary factors involved in the City’s selection of this vendor. Only RDS Services, LLC demonstrated an ability to conduct the Retiree Drug Subsidy audit of all eligible plan years because of their data management technology, proprietary analytical software capabilities and fully documented subsidy enlargement and recovery performance. RDS will retain 25% of the total amount recovered as payment, while the City will collect the remaining $466,000.
Mayor Brown and the Office of Strategic Planning hosted a virtual mobility roundtable on Wednesday, December 9th, where they unveiled the findings of a study offering positive and inclusive economic momentum by embracing emerging modes of mobility and technology. The recommendations of the study, titled “The Future of Mobility: Remaking Buffalo for the 21st Century,” would position Buffalo to become an international model for sustained economic growth by incorporating new transportation technologies to recreate existing streets and public places.
Mayor Brown stated, “The City of Buffalo has an opportunity to be a leader in the urban mobility revolution by embracing a creative and innovative mix of emerging transportation modes and vibrant place-making to better connect and serve our diverse neighborhoods, entertainment districts, and commercial corridors. This report and its recommendations are key to the success of Buffalo’s Race for Place, our initiative to create an urban center that is competitively positioned to retain and attract talent, foster entrepreneurship and encourage future investment, while providing all our residents with equitable access to prosperity.
The study came out of a partnership with the Congress for New Urbanism and Stantec Urban Places, which kicked off in February with a week-long series of public design workshops and forums in Buffalo.
“With this report, the City of Buffalo now has a toolkit to steer the implementation of next-generation mobility solutions so that they can serve the city and its people, not vice versa,” says Lynn Richards, President and CEO of CNU. “While other cities are giving technology companies free rein to test self-driving cars on their streets, without considering consequences, Buffalo’s approach is centered on its community first.”
The Brown Administration is immediately beginning the implementation of the report by releasing a request for proposals for a mobility manager who will also manage the City’s parking ramps and lots. In addition, a request for proposals will soon be released to identify a designated developer for the Mohawk Ramp in downtown Buffalo. The Mayor will also announce a working group to review and oversee the implementation of the recommendations in the report.
Friday, December 11th is the final day of Buy Black Buffalo Week, but Mayor Brown encourages consumers to continue supporting Black-owned businesses in Buffalo throughout the holiday season and beyond. Tune in to The Lounge on his Facebook page at Noon tomorrow for the final episode to learn more about some of the amazing participating Black-owned retailers, restaurants and other small businesses. For more on this initiative, visit www.buyblackbuffalo.com.
The Division of Citizen Services and the Board of Block Clubs are holding a community engagement meeting focused on resources for New Americans on Friday, December 11th at Noon. Jessica Lazarin, Director of the Office of New Americans, is the featured speaker. Residents interested in attending the virtual event should email firstname.lastname@example.org by tonight at 9pm.
To find the closest COVID-19 test site near you, visit covid19.buffalony.gov. The map contains a complete listing of all COVID-19 testing sites throughout the City with contact information for setting up an appointment, hours of operation and whether the site requires a prescription for testing.
Mayor Brown encourages healthy, COVID-19 symptom-free residents to give blood to help maintain an adequate supply. Donating is safe and social distancing precautions are in place to protect donors. To make an appointment or if you are interested in holding a blood drive, visit connectlifegiveblood.org.
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