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Common Council to begin budget review

City Hall
WBFO News file photo
City Hall

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-899512.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Common Council begins hearings later this morning on Mayor Byron Brown's proposed $460-million city budget. The Mayor has a $24-million d budget gap to fill and now lawmakers must now dig in.

Click the audio player above to hear Eileen Buckley's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

Niagara District Council member David Rivera attended Friday's budget unveiling. Rivera will chair the first round of budget hearings at 10:30 Monday this morning.

"It's a good budget. I do think it is a good budget. I have one concern. It is public safety," said Rivera.

The Mayor calls it the most challenging budget he's every proposed. He wants to trim residential property tax rates by almost 3% and eliminate 60-vacant jobs. That includes 43-unfilled police officer positions. But Rivera, who's a a retired police officer, says the community wants more cops on the streets.

Mayor Brown wants to eliminate those vacant police positions as the City waits to re-administer the police exam.

South District lawmaker Mickey Kearns is a bit skeptical about eliminating the vacant police jobs.

Another major proposal calls to create a new department of parking. It's designed to fix the city's dysfunctional parking system and consolidate services. But a new parking commissioner position would cost the city $95,000 a year.

"Why are we creating a position at $95,000 that's a pretty high level position in the third poorest city in the country," said Kearns.

City lawmakers have three weeks to make final changes to the mayor's spending plan.