Common Council Adopts Amendments to City Budget

May 18, 2012 Updated May 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Common Council Adopts Amendments to City Budget

May 18, 2012 Updated May 18, 2012 at 5:50 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- At a special session held Friday, the City of Buffalo Common Council presented and approved its amendments to the Mayor’s Proposed City Budget for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013.  The Council was presented with the Mayor’s Proposed Budget on May 1, 2012.

According to a news release:

After three weeks of intensive budget hearings, workshops, and review, the Council voted unanimously to approve its amendments to the Mayor’s Proposed Budget. Highlights of the Council’s amendments to the Mayor’s 2012-2013 Recommended Annual Operating Budget include shifting a total of $200,000 to a new budget line created to fund Arts & Cultural Groups and Anti-Violence initiatives, as well as the designation of $4000 for bottled water for firefighters, who in past years were required to purchase their own bottled water.

Notable recommendations from the Mayor that the Council maintained in their Adopted Revised Budget include an 8.5% cut to City commercial property tax rates, a freeze on residential property tax rates, $250,000 in funding for a new Neighborhood and Business District Crime Prevention and Beautification Program, funding for the hire of 34 new police officers and 43 new firefighters, and an increase to funding for the City’s Youth Employment Program that will add 50 new jobs.

“I give a lot of credit to the Mayor and his Budget Office for presenting the Council with such a strong, fiscally conservative budget,” said Council Majority Leader and Masten District Council Member Demone A. Smith.  “At the end of the day, no budget is perfect, but I really believe we have a spending plan for 2012-2013 that the entire City should be proud of.”

Council President Pro Tempore and University District Council Member Bonnie E. Russell noted that, “more so than it past years, I think we really came together as a body this year to develop shared priorities, such as the funding we added for Cultural Groups and Anti-Violence initiatives.  In addition, we all agreed that with the vacancy we had in the South District during much of this budget process, it was important for the residents of South Buffalo to get their fair share, and I believe they did in this budget.”

Michael J. LoCurto, who represents the Delaware District stated “I am glad to see us renew our assistance to the City’s arts and cultural institutions, a community that is often underfunded and overlooked.”

Council President and Lovejoy District Council Member agreed with Russell’s assessment.  “The fact that we were able to adopt a balanced and fiscally sound budget early, and without the animosity that had characterized previous budget processes, is really something that every Council Member as well as the Administration should be proud of.”

For South District Council Member Christopher C. Scanlon, today’s Special Meeting marked his first as a Member of the body.  “Not many people can say that one of their first votes as a Council Member was on an issue as important as the City’s Annual Operating Budget,” said Scanlon.  “Coming into the budget process so late, my main priorities were ensuring that the people of South Buffalo were getting their fair share and that we weren’t raising taxes on hard working people.  I’m happy to say that the budget we adopted today fully addressed those concerns.”

The Council’s Approved Annual Operating Budget for 2012-2013 will now be returned to the Mayor for final review and processing.