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Brown's $23M capital budget: 'Every neighborhood will get the attention it needs'

Mike Desmond
Buffalo's Allendale Theatre is among the cultural organizations included in Mayor Byron Brown's capital budget proposal for FY 2019.

New vehicles for the Fire Department, an elevator in the Elmwood Village's Crane Library and new seats for baseball games in Sahlen Field were among the items in Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown's proposed $23 million capital budget for next year.

The capital budget is a city's shopping list for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2019. After Thursday's announcement at Kleinhans Music Hall, this one will now go from the mayor to the Common Council for review. The Council has until Dec. 15 to make its own decisions on the plan, then it goes off to the bond market.

"This year's budget continues my administration's long-standing support of our city's parks and cultural, educational, athletic and recreational facilities," Brown said. "These investments have helped our venues, like Kleinhans Music Hall, remain centers of excellence and premier destinations for residents and tourists from around the world."

These are the biggest purchases the city makes, like the first $2 million for the planned new public works campus, to be built in a place yet to be decided and opened on a date which isn't known yet for an as-yet-unknown cost. Kleinhans will get major boiler room work, Shoshone Park will get its $1.5 million indoor sports facility, while city streets and sidewalks will get nearly $7 million in re-working, with $618,000 for trees to shade them.

Brown said every city neighborhood will get the attention it needs, all within a tight budget.
"We have limited the capital budget growth to 2.1 percent, which is below the 2.3-percent rate of inflation," he said. "My ongoing commitment to this approach, combined with bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to government, will keep Buffalo's progress moving forward."

The mayor said the shopping list is a mix of new items, like $1.5 million for a new emergency communications center in City Hall, $428,000 to match a federal grant to rehab the Elk Street Bridge and $175,000 for repairing the Marcy Casino stairs in Delaware Park.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.