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Mayor's proposed budget includes residential tax cuts, financial support to summer school students

On Friday, the Buffalo Common Council voted to accept Mayor Byron Brown’s proposed budget and pass it along to committee.

The mayor spoke about his budget just before the vote, which is proposed at $534.5 million, an increase of 2.9 percent from last year’s budget.

The budget’s increase, Brown says, are due to higher personnel costs, due to the rise in the living wage and higher pension costs, as well as the restoration of cost of living increases that had been put on pause during the pandemic.

A key point of the budget will be lowering residential property tax rates by 1.09 percent, while increasing commercial property tax rates by 2.74 percent.

“This increase still keeps the city's commercial property taxes extremely competitive and low. This increase in commercial rates means only 46 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value," said Mayor Brown. 

Brown shared that these tax changes are important to maintain the framework of his plan. He emphasized his commitment to a “fiscally conservative budget.”

One pandemic-related point of his proposed budget is a program that will provide financial support to 200 Buffalo public school students that enroll in summer school this year. 

“It is incredibly important that we address learning loss during the pandemic. This will help to ensure that our young people who had, who would have otherwise had an opportunity to work this summer are not financially penalized for going to school and catching up to grade level," said Mayor Brown. 

The mayor did not provide details as to how much is being provided to the pandemic learning loss program, but focused part of his speech on this program and others that direct funding to education.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.
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