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Buffalo control board shifting to "soft" status

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Mike Desmond/WBFO
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The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, the state-appointed panel that has overseen City of Buffalo finances since 2003, will be changing from a hard oversight to a soft, or advisory, status .

The change will take effect on July 1, the beginning of the city's new fiscal year.

The board voted six-to-one to enact the change. Under state law, the control board will continue in existence for 25 more years and can go back to hard status if deemed necessary.

The Authority had enacted wage freezes for city employees from 2004 to 2007, saving the city some $150 million.

While the city's fiscal situation has improved greatly in recent years, officials must negotiate new deals with its police and fire unions, which are working under expired contracts.  There is also still uncertainty over the long-term financial situation for Buffalo schools.