Mayor Byron W. Brown today presented a balanced 2018-2019 City of Buffalo Budget for the 13th consecutive year. This budget aims to realign City revenue streams, promote further economic development and increase Buffalo’s capacity to make critical investments in City services.
“Buffalo continues to be on a transformative path,” said Mayor Brown. “As the City of Buffalo continues to experience strong economic growth, my Administration is recommending a realignment of our fiscal plan which reflects the shift from a stimulus fiscal policy to a long-term investment policy. This shift is consistent with our conservative, fiscally-sound and pro-growth budgeting. With increased investment and visitors coming to Buffalo, our City’s expenses and potential revenues are evolving. The budget I have presented provides us with the capacity to meet these new demands. This budget allows us to tap into the resources our growing economy presents and meet the demands of all our residents. Our commitment to budget predictability and accountability remains strong and this budget proposal opens new avenues to provide effective City services and continue Buffalo’s growth and progress.”
This budget is consistent with the principles which have guided the Brown Administration since 2006, a commitment to fiscally conservative budgeting, continuing to foster an environment for growth and ensuring there are opportunities for all.
Mayor Brown continued, “This budget also highlights innovative solutions for confronting the many challenges that cities across the nation are facing. These solutions will identify new—and previously—untapped sources of revenue for programs and services which enhance the quality of life for residents and give us the flexibility to invest in new ideas and initiatives that will ensure the continuation of our City’s unprecedented growth.”
Twelve years ago, Buffalo was a very different city: it was under a hard control board, taxes were high, and Buffalo’s credit ratings were at historic lows. The Brown Administration developed a plan to change Buffalo’s economic outlook and put the City back on a path towards growth.
“Our City’s success and sense of renewed hope are signs that our strategy has worked,” said Mayor Brown. “As Buffalo enters the next phase of its renaissance, it is time to realign our revenues, maximize our potential, embrace new technologies and continue the transformation of the City. We will resist complacency and continue building on the progress that we have made. I’m confident that this carefully crafted and thoughtful budget and 4-year financial plan will continue to help spur growth, create more opportunities for residents and maintain the confidence the rest of the state, nation and world have shown in Buffalo’s potential.”
Before delivering his budget highlights, Mayor Brown recognized the work and contribution of Donna Estrich, Commissioner of Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs, City Budget Director Robert McDow, Members of his Fiscal Sub-Cabinet, as well as City Commissioners and Directors, who provided valuable input to help shape this fiscally responsible budget that keeps Buffalo on its positive growth path.
Mayor Brown continued, “Since becoming Mayor, I have worked to transform Buffalo’s economy, make City service delivery more efficient and execute strategies designed to better meet the needs of our residents. The success we have enjoyed, and the renewed sense of hope people feel, is a testament to the impact of our City’s revitalization. As Buffalo enters the next phase of our renaissance, this is the time to realign our expenses and our revenues, maximize our potential, embrace the new technologies which are driving change, and continue the transformation we have been leading over the past 12 years.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF MAYOR BROWN’S BUDGET FOR THE CITY OF BUFFALO, FY 2018-2019For the 13th consecutive year, Mayor Byron W. Brown is recommending a balanced budget that realigns our expenses with our revenue streams, as well as promotes economic development and increases our capacity to make critical investments in City services.
- The 2018-19 Budget is balanced, totaling $513.6 million, a modest increase from last year’s budget of $13.9 million- This budget reflects strategic investments in every area of City operations, which will help grow our economy and ensure effective delivery of services- By realigning our tax and fee structures this budget will generate revenue streams that will decrease our reliance on the City’s fund balance- This year’s budget increase stems primarily from rising health care costs, rising pension costs, higher cost of living adjustments and rising costs associated with a growing demand for more City services- Buffalo’s “Rainy Day” fund remains untouched and is funded at $38.7 million
REALIGNING OUR REVENUES TO REFLECT OUR ECONOMIC GROWTHThis budget will realign the revenue generated from taxes and fees to reflect the real costs of service delivery at a time when our City’s economic outlook is stronger and requires these changes. The Administration is still committed to a conservative fiscal policy that encourages continued economic growth and ongoing investment in the City. A comparison of our new fees and tax structures to other similar municipalities demonstrates that Buffalo’s fees and taxes are still lower than in other cities.
- The property tax realignment outlined in this budget keeps Buffalo’s property taxes for homeowners and businesses owners low and comes after 12-years of reduced or flat taxes that helped launch our economic growth. Under the new structure, which caps growth under the 2% Property Tax Cap law set by Albany, a homeowner of a $100,000 assessed value home will pay an annual increase of $60.
After being held flat for 13-years, this budget proposes a modest increase to the User Fee in order to make the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund self-sustaining. Rochester, a city comparable to Buffalo, will still charge more for its smallest tote than Buffalo will for its largest.
Garbage Tote Size Buffalo FY 2018-19 Rochester CurrentSMALL $162.61 $391MEDIUM $200.11 $787LARGE $237.61 $872
Rochester’s fees are tiered by the number of families in the home and not the size of the tote.
? Other licensing and permit fees will be updated in a competitive manner to continue to attract commercial activity and encourage home improvements.
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO EXTERNAL CHALLENGESThe fiscal and societal environment that Buffalo, and cities like it, operate in is vastly different than the one which existed when they were established. Mayor Brown’s budget builds on the initiatives he outlined in his State of the City address and offers new and creative solutions to the challenges we face.