Mayor Brown proposes budget that raises property taxes, user fees

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown's proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year calls for the first increase in property taxes since Brown took office 12 years ago. 

Under the spending plan introduced by the mayor Tuesday, residential property taxes would increase 3.4 percent. Commercial property taxes would rise 5.5 percent. 

For a home assessed at $100,000, the increase amounts to an annual increase of $60. Businesses assessed at the same amount would see a tax increase of $146 each year. 

Brown says the tax increase, along with hikes in several fees, will balance a $513.6 million budget that must cover the rising cost of health care, pensions and cost of living adjustments.

The city's garbage user fee will also increase depending on the size of a homeowner's tote. The fee for a small tote will increase from $140 to $162, while the fee for a large tote will rise from $175 to $237 - an increase of $62. 

Visitors to the city will also pay more under this budget. Anyone who purchases a ticket to major events at Shea's Performing Arts Center, Kleinhans Music Hall, KeyBank Center, Coca-Cola Field or Canalside will pay a ticket surcharge. The mayor said the additional revenue will help pay for police and security costs, although the city said it is still working with officials from the five major entertainment destinations to determine how much the surcharge will be. 

The budget includes $70.8 million to the Buffalo Public School District, $1.8 million for the summer youth employment program, and $500,000 to expand the police body camera program.

In addition, the city plans to hire 60 police officers and 60 firefighters to help reduce overtime costs. 

The budget still needs the approval of the Common Council. 

 

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