Buffalo, NY--- Mayor Brown issued a statement today wishing residents a happy and healthy New Year.
Mayor Brown stated, “The new year is a time of new beginnings for our City, New York State and the United States of America. Before we look ahead to the challenges and opportunities before us in 2021, let’s take a moment to reflect on the hard fought successes we achieved in 2020, most notably how our City remained strong and unified during the global health crisis of COVID-19. Our resilience and fortitude as a community remains one of the things I am most thankful for as your Mayor. I am proud to lead this City and together, I know we will all rise from this pandemic, stronger than ever. God bless you and God bless the City of Buffalo.”
Mayor Brown reminds residents that street closures will go into effect tonight in preparation of the City of Buffalo’s first New Year’s Eve Virtual Ball Drop. Beginning tonight at 5pm, Washington Street between Genesee and East Huron will be closed to the public. At 8pm, Main Street from Chippewa to Mohawk, Washington Street from Chippewa to Mohawk, Genesee from E. Huron to Ellicott, W. Huron from Pearl to Main and E. Huron from Main to Ellicott will also be closed to the public. These closures will be in effect until Friday, January 1st, 2021 at 2am. Mayor Brown is urging residents and visitors to enjoy the celebration this year from the safety of their own home to help protect our community from COVID-19.
The 7 Eyewitness News Team of Keith Radford and Ashley Rowe will host the New Year’s Eve Virtual celebration, beginning at 8 PM on 7 PLUS with a look back at the positive stories that inspired us in 2020. Live coverage of the Buffalo Ball Drop begins on 7 ABC at 11 PM. The Buffalo Ball Drop, organized and managed by Buffalo Place and sponsored by many Buffalo businesses, benefits youth in our community who participate in quality programming provided by the Police Athletic League of Buffalo.
Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer today announced that enforcement of the parking restrictions on the streets with 9am- 4pm Alternate Side Parking will be suspended once again, as snow maintenance on those streets has been completed. The City’s strategy to expand parking options for residents and businesses throughout the pandemic has been successful. The enforcement was required this week after record snowfall last weekend, but will be suspended again as of 4pm tonight. Those who park on 9am-4pm Alternate Side Parking streets are encouraged to enroll in the BuffAlert Parking Updates program, a new system that notifies residents of renewed enforcement during weather events. Sign up by texting JOIN PARKINGUPDATES to 30890. Once enrolled, participating residents will receive a text message or phone call 24 hours before the 9am-4pm Alternate Side Parking Restrictions need to be enforced for maintenance. They will also receive notifications when the regulations will not be enforced, providing motorists the opportunity to utilize parking on both sides of the street.
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.
Buffalo City Hall will be closed on Friday, January 1, 2021, for the New Year’s Day holiday.
Friday garbage and recycling collections are scheduled for Saturday due to the New Year’s Day holiday. All other collections remain unchanged.
Mayor Brown ordered City of Buffalo flags lowered to half-staff to honor the late George K. Arthur, one of Buffalo’s most prominent government, political and civic leaders, and a major figure in the African American community.
Mayor Brown stated, “The City of Buffalo has lost a distinguished leader and tireless advocate for positive change in our community and pioneer for equity who successfully pushed to desegregate the Buffalo Public Schools, with the passing of George K. Arthur. In honor of his incredible and lasting contributions to Buffalo, City flags will be lowered to half-staff,”
Mr. Arthur passed away Christmas Day following a lengthy illness at age 87. He will be buried January 2, 2021 at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Mr. Arthur was actively involved in public service for 55 years, serving on the Buffalo Common Council for 26 years, including a dozen as president before his retirement. He continued to work for Buffalo until his passing as a member of the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.
One of Mr. Arthur’s most impactful efforts was his fight against the inequalities he saw in the city’s education system, with support from the Buffalo branch of the NAACP and the Citizens’ Council for Human Relations. He was the lead plaintiff in a school desegregation lawsuit, Arthur v. Nyquist, which was filed in 1972. The federal lawsuit was decided in 1976, with the court ruling in Mr. Arthur’s favor.
Mr. Arthur also worked with various outside community and cultural organizations, including the NAACP, the Black Leadership Forum, the historic First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, the Michigan Street Preservation Corp., and especially the Nash House Museum, which he championed. He also helped spearhead an annual Pine Grill Reunion.
Mayor Brown and Masten District Councilmember Ulysees O. Wingo, submitted a resolution to the Buffalo Common Council on Wednesday extending the senior citizen and the persons with disabilities and limited income exemptions through 2021 at the same level as the 2020 Roll Year. On December 29, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law the “COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020”, which makes it legal for local governments to carry over these exemptions. Approximately 1,200 applications for the exemption have not been received and were at risk of not having their exemptions renewed.
Mayor Brown stated, “This action ensures that the most needy and vulnerable residents of our City maintain these vital exemptions during this time without unnecessary travel or financial burden. The passage of this resolution in accordance with State law, ensures that the exemptions for thousands of seniors and persons with disabilities will continue, without requiring the completion of any additional paperwork.”
Approximately 7,000 City households receive one of these two exemptions: 6,500-Senior Citizen, 478-Persons with Disabilities and Low Income. For more information, please call the Department of Assessment and Taxation Exemptions Office at 716-851-5733, Option 3.
Mayor Brown continues to lead the local effort to raise awareness about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination. Mayor Brown and other community leaders are participating in the “Take the COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall Radio Show” on Tuesday, January 5th. From 6pm to 7pm, residents can listen to WUFO 1080 AM/Power 96.5 FM or call 837-1112 with questions about the virus and vaccine. The informational forum is sponsored by the NAACP, WUFO 1080AM and BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. At the beginning of December, Mayor Brown joined President-Elect Biden and Former Presidents Obama and Clinton in pledging to take the vaccine live on TV and social media to help reassure residents of the vaccine’s safety.
Grievance Period for the City of Buffalo ends on Thursday, December 31st. All real property grievances must be received by the Assessment and Taxation Department office by 4:30pm on Thursday, December 31, 2020. Grievances can be mailed or dropped off at the drop box located in the Elmwood Avenue City Hall entrance. For more information, visit www. buffalony.gov.
The Assessment & Taxation Department continues to be closed to the public. Anyone needing services can call the department at 851-5733. Video conferencing is available upon request.
For assessment inquiries, call 851-5733 and select option 1 or email COBAssessor@city-buffalo.com. For tax inquiries, call 851-5733 and select option 2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For exemption inquiries, call 851-5733 and select option 3 or email email@example.com.
The City of Buffalo User Fee office is no longer offering in-person appointments at this time. Any resident in need a copy of their User Fee Bill, Change of Address Form or to speak to someone about their bill should contact 851-5370 or 851-5014. Copies of bills will be printed and available for contactless pickup in Room 114 at Buffalo City Hall.
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.
Mayor Brown encourages residents interested in pursuing a new career to apply for American Medical Response’s (AMR) new class of the ‘Earn While You Learn’ academy. The program allows for trainees to be full-time employees while taking the necessary certification courses to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs). The innovative program allows trainees to be full-time employees while taking the necessary certification courses to become EMTs. The 11-week program has made a career in emergency medical services more accessible, ensuring that a candidate is financially secure while in training. For more information including how to apply, visit www.amr.net. AMR has graduated 156 Buffalo area EMTs since launching the program in 2018.
Residents have an opportunity to provide input on the City of Buffalo’s new plan for our parks. Mayor Brown and The Trust for Public Land launched a new online survey for residents to comment directly on the development of the city’s park plan. The city also released the Buffalo Unlimited Activity Book, a fun opportunity for residents of all ages to get creative and share their vision for local parks. The Buffalo Parks Master Plan is a project of The City of Buffalo, The Trust for Public Land, New City Parks, and the Regional Plan Association. The community can find out more about the plan here: https://www. tpl.org/our-work/buffalo-parks-plan. Since 2006, Mayor Brown has invested $74 million in parks citywide.
Use BuffAlert to stay informed on important information like emergencies and cancellations. You can sign up by texting JOIN BUFFALERT to 30890.