© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Common Council at Odds with Control Board

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Three Buffalo lawmakers weigh in on the Mayor's revised four year finanical plan resubmitted to the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.

Common Council Majority Leader Rosemarie Lotempio says the Mayor Masiello's revised four-year financial plan would devastate the city.

"The only way the city is ever going to get strong again, and grow, is to get a steady and recurring revenue," LoTempio said. "And that is why I continue to fight for the sales tax."

Masiello responded to the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority's request to revise his plan and make more cuts at City Hall. He's proposing to slash more than 600 city jobs, and that includes the elimination of 30 firefighters and closing two fire companies by November 1st. Council President James Pitts says the fire cuts are too drastic and "irresponsible."

"If you talk about emergency services, police and fire, those should be the last places you talk about cutting, even though they are the largest costs," Pitts said. "You should not be talking about reducing those services at all, until you come up with a plan to make sure that those services will remain and provide the kind of protection residents want."

Pitts says he believes the control board might reject this second plan and ask for even deeper city cuts. North District Council Member Joe Golombek isn't pleased with the revised plan. He doesn't believe the Council would support the fire department changes.

"I think it would pass if it were a three or four year plan, which is what the city is trying to do," Golombek said. "I think that this is where the control board is making a mistake. They are looking at the bottom line rather than looking at a city that takes care of services for people."

The city's department of permits and inspections also faces severe cuts under the revised fiscal plan. Inspections Commissioner Ray McGurn says the latest plan calls to eliminate 26 housing inspectors.

McGurn told the Council's budget committee Thursday that would "decimate" his department. McGurn says he desperately needs more bond money to continue planned demolitions. He says a few hundred homes in the city must be demolished to avoid arson and other crimes.