Common Council Amends Mayor's Proposed Budget

May 19, 2011 Updated May 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Common Council Amends Mayor's Proposed Budget

May 19, 2011 Updated May 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- During a special session held Thursday, the City of Buffalo Common Council presented and approved its amendments to Mayor Byron Brown's Proposed City Budget for the Fiscal Year 2011-2012.

The Council was presented with the Mayor’s Proposed Budget on April 29. After three weeks of hearings, workshops, and review, the Council voted unanimously to approve its amendments to the Mayor’s Proposed Budget.

Highlights of the Council’s 2011-2012 Approved Annual Operating Budget include:

• A reduction in commercial tax rates
• Restoration of positions within the City of Buffalo Division of Real Estate
• Allocation of $200,000 in funding for City of Buffalo arts and cultural organizations
• Allocation of $500,000 in funding for after school programs in four Buffalo Public Schools
• No increase in residential taxes or the user fee

“I’d like to thank my colleagues and the City Administration for coming together and funding City arts and cultural organizations with $200,000. The funding is a statement that arts and cultural organizations do matter to the City of Buffalo,” Delaware District Council Member Michael J. LoCurto said.

Lovejoy District Council Member and Common Council Majority Leader Richard A. Fontana said, “Included in this year’s budget is a decrease in taxes for the business community, no increase in taxes for residents, and stable property tax evaluations, therefore allowing property assessments to remain the same. The Council worked cooperatively with the City Administration to produce a City Budget that is balanced and early.”

Masten District Council Member Demone A. Smith said, “Allowing public schools to be open later will help to incorporate the neighborhoods back into our schools. Once the neighborhoods are back into the schools, we will start to see a change in the environment, therefore producing a change in the education system. I hope that we can eventually open up at least three after school programs in each Council District. Providing this funding says that we are serious about changing the culture of education in the City of Buffalo.”

South District Council Member Michael P. Kearns said, “Each day in the City of Buffalo many of our children go home to an empty house after school. These monies will assist in providing affordable after school programs that keep children safe, inspire learning, help working families, and offer children positive alternatives.”

The Council’s Approved Annual Operating Budget for 2011-2012 will now be returned to the Mayor for final review and processing.