Mayoral initiative aims at knocking out hazardous lead in Buffalo

Darius Pridgen, common council president, holds new lead testing kits.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — An 11-point Mayoral plan aimed at knocking out the lead problem in the City of Buffalo will provide funding and follow-through over the next fiscal year to help wipe out a problem with hazardous lead-based materials like paint.

Mayor Byron Brown alluded to a new program with highlighted increased funding in the 2016-2017 budget year. The multi-pronged initiative provides a minimum of $250,000 annually to be dedicated to lead-based issues, with over $200,000 available immediately to begin the program, making available 150 Buffalo apartments safe from lead this year, and each year to follow.

An 11-step process starts with funding provided through an increased rental registration fee. The process continues as follows:

  1. Funds will be provided in partnership with a host of programs to clean 150 apartments of hazardous lead each year.
  2. The City’s Charter, City Code and Rental Registry will each be strengthened to required landlord lead certifications.
  3. Certificates of occupancy will be denied to homes and apartments with lead-based hazards.
  4. Property managers will be required to be lead-safe certified.
  5. With referrals from Buffalo building inspectors, UNYSE will perform lead testings where needed.
  6. Concentrated code enforcement will be conducted in areas with highest concentrated lead hazards.
  7. A dedicated lead line will be created by the city’s 311 program to take calls about lead concerns.
  8. Lead education will be provided on Buffalo’s website, in user fee bills, during clean sweeps, on public access television, city building permit applications and disseminated in various languages.
  9. Collaboration will increase between Buffalo, Erie County and other initiatives to help further initiatives.
  10. Buffalo MBE, WBE, Section 3 and small businesses will each be trained to become lead certified.

Each initiative will be created in 2016, and aim to expand the fight against lead-based hazards. Brown says the best weapon landlords and tenants have is information.

“We will conduct a comprehensive communications campaign to educate Buffalo residents how to spot lead-based paint problems, the dangers of lead exposure, their rights as tenants and what steps to take to make sure their landlords clear the hazard. We will also launch an education campaign that includes: flyers distributed door-to-door and placed in user fee bills, robust information on the City webpage, social media and in-person lead information sessions,” Brown said

Brown said lead poisoning is completely preventable, and collaboration between all organizations can help ensure all lead-based illnesses are eradicated in the city’s near future.

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