Buffalo Mayor Releases 2012-2013 City Budget | News
BUFFALO, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown today released his recommended 2012-13 City Budget, which still needs to be approved by the Buffalo Common Council.
Mayor Brown's proposed 2012-2013 budget holds the line on property taxes.
"This budget reflects my continued commitment to sound fiscal management and conservative budgeting, which paid off this year with improved credit ratings and increased investment in Buffalo," said Mayor Brown. "It also reflects the challenges facing many municipalities across the state - 15% increase in gasoline prices, as well as a 15.8% rise in overall fringe benefit costs and a staggering 21% hike in employee pension costs. Nonetheless, the budget I am presenting honors a 3- year pledge I made to city taxpayers last year to continue to provide tax certainty. The budget preserves the 15% homeowner rate reduction we achieved over the course of my administration, offers businesses an additional 8.5% tax cut, (a nearly 25% reduction since 2006) and provides increased quality of life investments in public safety and neighborhood improvements, making Buffalo a safer and healthier place to live and work."
The mayor also announced new investments in city neighborhoods, public safety, and the overall quality of life in his proposed budget.
Some of the highlights in the proposed budget are:
• Providing funding for a new police class of 34 officers, and the current firefighter class of 43 firefighters. With these new classes, Buffalo's total uniformed police force increases to 802, the fire department increases to 719, making Buffalo a safer place to live and work.
• Providing $250,000 in funding for a new Neighborhood and Business District Crime Prevention and Beautification Program.
•$75,000 to purchase two environmentally friendly sidewalk sweepers to vacuum up litter, broken glass, bottles, cans and leaves, without disrupting pedestrians or street traffic.
• $220,000 for Coca-Cola Field, $136,000 for the Buffalo Zoo, $125,000 for Buffalo Place, $100,000 for the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, and $50,000 for Kleinhans Music Hall.
•This year, city parks will receive new picnic shelters, security lighting enhancements, playgrounds and other sport infrastructure, such as basketball courts and sports fields. Construction will also begin this year on the city's first park for skateboarders in Lasalle Park.
• This Budget honors terms of a 3-year property tax freeze: city taxpayer bills will remain substantially the same in the upcoming year as their last tax bill, absent major structural improvements that increase property value.
• For a residential taxpayer, the annual tax rate stays the same, maintaining the15% tax cut since 2006. By cutting the tax rate, city residents with a home assessed at $100,000 saved $300 a year from what they would have paid had the tax cut not happened.
• For commercial property owners, the tax rate will decrease an additional 8.5%, marking a decrease in rates of nearly 25% since 2006! In simple terms, a $100,000 commercial structure will save $844 annually.
"We have established and maintained a strong financial foundation, while remaining focused on our core principles to improve quality of life, reduce crime and make city government more efficient and accountable," said Mayor Brown. "We continue to take the necessary actions to make Buffalo vibrant through positioning the city for continued investment, economic development and job growth. As New York State's second largest city, strengthening Buffalo will in turn strengthen the state as a whole."
According to the City Charter, once the Mayor submits his recommended 2012-13 City Budget to the Buffalo Common Council, the Council must return the Budget to the Mayor by May 22, 2012. The Mayor may then veto only additions made by the Council. By Charter, the Budget must be adopted by June 1st and becomes official on June 8th.