Proposed city budget cuts taxes, promotes housing growth
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown says he is cutting taxes, raising spending, and pushing residential construction in the city in the 2014-2015 budget he unveiled Thursday. The mayor says the city is on a roll and he wants to continue that.
The $505 million budget went to the Common Council, which immediately announced its plan for the annual budget hearings and reviews.
Brown says tax cuts are part of a long-term pattern.
"This year's spending plan lowers the commercial tax rate by 1.7%, a 29.6% reduction since 2006. It also lowers the residential tax rate by .05%, which is a 15.7% cut since 2006," Brown said.
The plan includes money for arts and cultural organizations, cash for instrumental music in some city schools, and money for Say Yes to Education and programs in schools to bring kids up to college admission levels, although no fresh funding for the school budget.
The mayor says the city is doing well and he wants to make sure that continues with investment in new residences, infrastructure, and promotion to attract residents and business. He says the city's housing market is hot in many neighborhoods and he wants to encourage that, including 560 more demolitions to remove blighted buildings around the city.
"We're seeing large commercial growth, and to keep that large commercial growth moving, we now feel it's critically important to focus on residential growth," the mayor said in his presentation at City Hall.
Saying immigrants have become an important part of the city's growth, the budget includes a new Office of New Americans to help those new residents settle in.
With crime down, the mayor says there will be even more new police cars on the street and another new class in the Police Academy and a new fire dispatch system is on the way.
There will be no increase in the garbage user fee.