Buffalo ready to approve $20M in capital projects

Feb 6, 2019

The City of Buffalo is closer to its latest capital spending plan, with the Common Council looking at $20 million in projects and ready to approve the plan in two weeks.

The spending plan is financed by selling bonds, once the shopping list is complete and approved by the Council, then sent to the comptroller, who actually sells the bonds. That is set for the middle of April, with Acting Comptroller Vanessa Glushefski handling the sale, with its complex legal requirements and paperwork.

Once those bonds are sold and the cash comes in, projects can move forward. Council Finance Committee Chair Richard Fontana said project managers have been assigned and they will continue each project.

"We authorized the comptroller to go to the bond market. Now our role is complete. It's up to the administration to carry out the duties of getting the projects completed," Fontana said. "So our say is in the budget process. Our say is in the capital outlay as far as authorizing the comptroller to sell the bonds. At that point, then it's an administrative function."

The bonded projects range from more than a $1 million for a Buffalo Police shooting range to replace the one at its former Franklin Street headquarters to $920,000 for new fire trucks, to more than $600,000 to remove and replant trees along city streets to $149,000 for repairing the lamp posts around the Gates Circle fountain.

"There are definitely some neighborhood projects that are put in from the Council members as a labor of love, but the mayor does share in those visions. He supports the neighborhood, just like he does the global," Fontana said. "But we support the global because we know we also have to buy fire trucks to protect our people in the neighborhoods. It's a good balance of neighborhood priorities as well as citywide needs to function as a city."

Fontana said it can take up to a year to actually start work on the various projects on the bond list. Some will be quicker, like a new roof on the Police Garage on Seneca Street when the weather warms or to plant those trees in the fall.