BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The city of Buffalo has rolled out a nearly $500 million budget for 2017-2018, a 1.1 percent spending increase over 2017-2018, or an additional $5.7 million.
Residential tax rates will remain the same, and commercial property tax rates will be reduced by 1 percent.
The budget will tap into the City of Buffalo’s fund balance, leaving the city with an unassigned fund balance of almost $30 million. Buffalo also has a “Rainy Day” fund of $36 million.
The city is anticipated to close its 2016-2017 year with a $1 million surplus.
The budget includes Mayor Byron Brown’s plans for supporting safe and livable neighborhoods in Buffalo, including $500,000 for a new Buffalo Police substation at the Broadway Market. It’s expected that at least 30 police personnel will work out of the substation by Jan. 2018. The budget also includes funding for a new Quality of Life Initiative to be implemented by Citizens’ Services/311, the city’s Public Works Department, and the Buffalo Police Department.
The budget also calls for an additional $500,000 for the Buffalo Public Schools, a permanent annual increase which will allocate an additional $2.5 million for Buffalo Schools over the next five years. The budget also calls for an extra $500,000 to the Buffalo Say Yes to Education initiative, which aims to increase high school and post-secondary completion rates.
The 2017-2018 budget includes some cost saving measures for the city. Utility companies will be allowed to install small cell technology to improve the volume of cellular service on poles in city rights-of-way. The city is expected to receive $2,000 per pole annually. The Buffalo Police Department is expected to save in overtime costs thanks to newly hired police officers in the second quarter, and a new time and attendance solution will be implemented for city employees to minimize payroll-related errors and improve daily operations.
A public hearing on the city of Buffalo budget will be held 5 p.m. May 4 in City Council Chambers on the 13th floor of City Hall, 65 Niagara Square.
The Buffalo Common Council must return the Budget to the Mayor by May 22, 2017. The Mayor may then only veto any additions made by the Council. The budget becomes official on June 8th.