Tag: City Hall

Jun 17

2024

Buffalo needs a hard control board

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Mayor Byron Brown made it clear last week he has no intention of resolving the city’s pending fiscal crisis. In an interview with Deidre Williams of The Buffalo News, the mayor said rather than cutting spending, he’s looking for increased revenue from the county, state and perhaps federal governments to close a projected deficit of at least $41 million for the budget year starting July 2025.  In fact, the feds have already been bailing him out. In the past three budgets, the city has used $100 million in federal pandemic aid to balance the books. It expects to use at[...]

Posted 7 days ago

Jun 11

2024

Buffalo lawmakers’ side gigs

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Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader Leah Halton-Pope, President Pro Tempore Bryan Bollman, and University District Council Member Rasheed Wyatt. Photo by Garrett Looker. The Buffalo Common Council’s majority leader, Leah Halton-Pope, was sworn into office — and onto the city’s payroll — on Jan. 1. But she was collecting more than a city paycheck during her first four months in office. Halton-Pope continued to work as a part-time policy consultant for Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes — the woman she has called her “forever boss” — until the end of April, making about $3,000 a month. And she continues to[...]

Posted 2 weeks ago

May 27

2024

Buffalo’s fiscal reckoning

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  Buffalo Common Council President Christopher P. Scanlon. Photo by Garrett Looker. Buffalo’s Common Council took some of the sting out of the mayor’s proposed property tax hike last week, at least for residential homeowners.  Legislators knocked Mayor Byron Brown’s 9 percent tax increase to 7.5 percent, with most of the relief directed to residential homeowners. But city dwellers shouldn’t rest easy. Taxes likely will continue to rise in the years to come. “This tax increase is nothing compared to what’s going to happen in the future,” Niagara District Council Member David Rivera said last week.   “We should have been[...]

Posted 4 weeks ago

May 3

2024

Buffalo’s precarious budget

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Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown struck a pragmatic tone Wednesday as he introduced his budget proposal for the coming year, which is balanced with a 9 percent hike in property taxes and nearly $15 million in reserve funds. The mayor’s $618 million spending proposal, however, suffers from some of the same unrealistic revenue projections that led to shortfalls in the past, before the city’s treasury was bursting with federal pandemic aid to conceal the difference. Consider just three revenue sources the Brown administration has frequently overestimated in past budget cycles: parking meters, parking tickets, and traffic fines. Parking meters are forecast[...]

Posted 2 months ago

Mar 26

2024

Buffalo hostel pushes back against vacate order

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Representatives of Hostel Buffalo-Niagara say they’re planning to fight the city’s order for them to vacate their Main Street building. The hostel has no plans to shut down April 15 — the date it’s been ordered to close shop for construction at an adjacent building. As of now, its long-range plan is to remain open, and to eventually buy the hostel building from the city, Hostel Buffalo-Niagara president Alexander Burgos said Tuesday. “We have an engineer that doesn’t feel that closing our business is necessary and that we can continue to operate while they perform construction,” Burgos told Investigative Post.[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Mar 22

2024

Downtown hostel gets a reprieve

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The Hostel Buffalo-Niagara downtown Buffalo. The city has backed off its insistence that Hostel Buffalo-Niagara vacate its downtown location on Monday, allowing it to host visitors for the April 8 solar eclipse.  Work to stabilize an adjacent structure to the rear is scheduled to start soon and the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, owner of the two buildings, said it would be unsafe for the hostel to remain open during the work. Hostel managers lobbied for an extension to accommodate the visitors who have booked for the eclipse. “So as to not inconvenience the out-of-town visitors for this historic event, BURA[...]

Posted 3 months ago

Mar 1

2024

Demolition threatened for Buffalo’s ‘house from hell’

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Over a year after two dead bodies were found in a boarded-up Arkansas Street house, a city court judge is once again calling for demolition of the property.  Meanwhile, the owner is now facing similar issues with a burned-out house he owns in a different West Side neighborhood.  His attorney says Kwayo Ithe Bonkuka could afford to fix the problem properties if he gets back $80,000 he paid for a city-owned house, but never received ownership of. “If we enter into an agreement, money will be transferred back for properties,” attorney Daniel Tarantino said in a recent Housing Court appearance.[...]

Posted 4 months ago

Feb 23

2024

Downtown Buffalo hostel facing quick eviction

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Hostel Buffalo-Niagara at 667 Main Street in downtown Buffalo. Buffalo’s downtown hostel was notified this week that it must evacuate the Main Street building its occupied for nearly 30 years so stabilization work can begin on the hostel and an adjacent structure Initially, the hostel was given until March 1 to vacate. But by the end of  Friday, in response to concerns raised by the hostel, the city extended the deadline until March 25 – although representatives for the hostel are saying it’s still not enough time. “We feel heard for right now, but we need more and we want[...]

Posted 4 months ago
Investigative Post

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