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Common Council Seeks Input on Masiello Budget Proposal

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – The public input portion of the city budget process concludes Monday night with a hearing on Mayor Masiello's spending recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Council scheduled the hearing for the evening hours to make it more convenient for people to attend. But it wouldn't be surprising if the turn-out is sparse. Simply put, this budget isn't especially controversial. After two years of drastic cuts and deficit borrowing, this budget proposal contains very little pain.

"We didn't get to this point by accident or luck. We've been making a lot of tough decisions," said Council Majority Leader Marc Coppola.

Besides the tough decisions of year's past, he said an increase in state aid to the city this year was also key.

"I have to give credit to our State Legislature and the Governor for their program that gave the city an extra $13 million," Coppola said.

The Council spent most of last week in hearings with city department heads. Again, there wasn't much controversy. But Coppola said that doesn't mean Council members don't have their concerns, especially when it comes to police protection.

"I asked about Delaware Park and about our quality of life issues," Coppola said. "I asked if they feel they can handle that."

The only thing that some Council members are pledging to change is an eight percent increase in the garbage user fee. Lawmakers have until May 22nd to approve the budget.

Monday night's hearing begins at 6:00 inside Council chambers in City Hall.