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Mayor Brown's budget calls for slight property tax decrease

Posted at 7:16 PM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 19:16:20-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown took the wraps of his proposed spending plan Wednesday. And for city homeowners, the mayor wants to save you a little money.

The Mayor's proposed budget totals $508.6-million and that $4.9-million less then the current city budget. While he promises a slight tax decrease for city residents in his proposed budget. But it would mean a small increase for commercial property taxes.

"In our goal to make Buffalo an affordable, inclusive city - we wanted to reduce slightly the residential tax rate - to do that we thought it was important to slightly increase the commercial tax rate - but even with this slight increase in the commercial tax rate - the tax rate is still substantially lower than it was 14 years ago when i was first in office as mayor of the city of Buffalo," Brown told reporters.

City taxpayer currently pay $18.49 per $1,000 of assessed value, but Brown's spending plan would reduce it to $18.47.

Buffalo Common Council president Darius Pridgen tells 7 Eyewitness news the proposal is a "fiscally conservative" budget.

"So I'm really pleased with this budget and the fact that there will be a reduction in the residential taxes again," remarked Pridgen.

Mayor Brown said his budget rightsizes city finances to reflect the city's needs and project growth.

The proposal also calls for the city to buy the street lighting system from National Grid and convert all the bulbs to LED over the next three years. This would be an immediate savings of more than $1-million.

"We are going to be negotiating the actual acquisition with National Grid over the coming months . Expect to see LED Light conversion as part of that in 2020," explained Michael Finn, Commissioner of Department of Public Works.

"Our goal – our focus – our strong priority is to maintain Buffalo as a very affordable city," stated Mayor Brown. The Mayor said this proposed budget does included a proposed pay raise for his position and other top elected leaders as recommended by the Buffalo's Citizen Salary Review Commission, but still need Common Council approval.

The Mayor is also proposing funding to purchase more new police vehicles and continue funds for police body cams, plus more money for fixing potholes.

Brown is also proposing $500,000 to Buffalo's Say Yes to Education program.

The proposed spending package is now in the hands of the Common Council and budget hearings being Monday at 10 a.m. It will begin with Buffalo Public Schools. Other departments will follow throughout the day. These hearings are open to the public for observation.

A public hearing on the budget to hear the fiscal concerns of citizens will be held the same day at 5 P.M. This is open to the public and people are invited to make statements. Budget Workshops will begin Wednesday at 10 A.M., starting with Buffalo Public Schools and following the same order as with the hearings. They will continue as needed through Thursday.