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Women in Elected Office Challenges and Opportunities in Erie County

Erie County Commission on the Status of Women — Jul 26, 2018

"This report offers a snapshot of the political landscape in Erie County with a focus on women in elected office. Women comprise 52% of Erie County's total population , 49.5% of its labor force, and 53% of the county's registered voters. Women current comprise nearly 33% of elected government officials with men comprising nearly 68%." 

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Cruelty and Cost: Money Bail in Buffalo

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Colleen Kristich — Apr 26, 2018

This policy report was drafted by Andrea Ó Súilleabháin, Deputy Director at PPG, and Colleen Kristich, Master of Social Work Candidate at the University at Buffalo.It presents new data on bail in Buffalo, including frequency of money bail, average amounts by level and type of offense, and racial disparities. This dataset is based on PPG's observation of 240 arraignment hearings from November 2017 to February 2018.The report includes several stories from Buffalo City Court, …

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Executive Sessions Studied in Alphabetical Order by Municipality

Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government — Feb 1, 2018

This reports out on the executive sessions in municipalities in 2017. 

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Behind Closed Doors, Executive Sessions and the Public's Right to Know

Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government — Oct 2, 2017

The Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government evaluated the Annual Financial Disclosure Forms utilized by ten municipalities in Erie and Niagara County. The Disclosure Forms were ranked from best to worst based on criteria we established. The ten municipalities reviewed were: Cheektowaga, Erie County, Buffalo, Town of Hamburg, Niagara Falls, Town of Lancaster, Amherst, Town of Tonawanda, Clarence, Niagara County.

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Initiatives for a Smart Economy 2.0

Mark Poloncarz — Jun 30, 2017

Just like its predecessor, I4SE 2.0 is organized in a manner that focuses on those sectors of the local economy identified by WNYREDC as growth sectors. It identifies initiatives within those sectors where ErieCounty can make a meaningful contribution. These sectors include: advanced manufacturing, smart growth implementation, workforce development, agriculture, bi-national logistics, energy, and tourism.The report also identifies specific initiatives that Erie County will undertake in other …

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Freedom of Information Law Report 2017

Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government — May 17, 2017

The Buffalo Niagara Coalition for Open Government evaluated the response of a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request to sixteen municipalities in Erie and Niagara County.

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One Region Forward A New Way To Plan For Buffalo Niagara

University at Buffalo Regional Institute — Jul 20, 2015

This document represents the culmination of three years of research, community engagement, partnership building and planning under the banner of One Region Forward. Within the pages of this plan, you will find the major research findings of what the data tells us about where the region is today and expressions of thousands of citizen voices on the direction people in the region want to see Buffalo Niagara go. Proposed strategies and actions, built by a team of 100+ subject matter experts, are …

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Initiatives for a Stronger Community

Mark Poloncarz — Mar 31, 2015

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Freedom of Information: Federal and New York State Laws

Janette Clarke — May 2, 2009

The initial Freedom of Information Act was created so that the public could have greater access to records possessed by federal government agencies.  President Linden B. Johnson signed the Act into law on July 4, 1966 and it went into effect the next year.  While this Act applies only to federal agencies, all of the states have created similar statutes which require disclosure by state and local government agencies.

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Open Meetings Law

Alicia Giglio — Apr 26, 2009

By law, citizens have the right to attend meetings of public bodies, listen to the debates, and watch the decision-making process in action.  These meetings are considered “open meetings.”  Article seven of the New York State Public Officers Law is entitled, Open Meetings Law.  This law lays out all of the requirements and exemptions for meetings held by public bodies.  The Open Meetings Law went into effect in 1977. 

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Comptroller's Review of the Costs of Real Property Tax Assessment in Erie County

Mark Poloncarz — Mar 25, 2008

The New York State Office of Real Property Services (“NYSORPS”) has stated that “New York's property tax system is, arguably, the most complex and confusing in the country.”  NYSORPS data show that there are 1,133 distinct assessing units in New York State, as contrasted with 59 in California.  Only the State of Michigan has more assessing units than New York State.  In Erie County, thirty (30) municipal governments consisting of cities, towns and villages …

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The Control Boards: Time for an Objective Review and Real Reforms

Mark Poloncarz Mar 18, 2008

Justifications for the Buffalo and Erie County control boards usually depend on two false premises: (i) the problem is “bloated” and “inefficient” city and county government; and (ii) the solution is to add another layer of government composed of non-elected, state-appointed officials.  The typical commentary lumps all local elected officials together, ignoring large differences between different politicians and between the city and county.  It ignores the big …

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Regionalism Revisited: The Effort to Streamline Governance in Buffalo and Erie County, New York

Craig Bucki — Jan 16, 2008

During the first half of the twentieth century, burgeoning grain transshipment trade and heavy manufacturing spurred the bustling economy of Buffalo, the eastern-most port on the shores of Lake Erie and the second-largest city in the State of New York.  With the jobs that these industries provided came residents to occupy them.  In the 1900 census, Buffalo ranked as the eighth-largest city in the United States, with a population of over 350,000.  By 1950, Buffalo could claim over …

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Local Taxes in New York State: Easing the Burden

Wende A. Mix Dec 6, 2007

The months between the fall of 2007 and the adoption of New York State’s next annual budget in March 2008 are a critical juncture in the efforts to “fix Albany.”  The process by which the next budget is prepared and debated, as well as the substantive decisions it embodies, are critical to the movement for political and fiscal reform in New York State.  In order to promote fiscal reform, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) is convening three separate agenda-setting …

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Local Advantage in a Global Era: Making Local Procurement Work for New York

Amy Kedron — Nov 13, 2007

Around the country municipalities have enacted local procurement preference laws, which give a competitive advantage to local firms bidding on public contracts.  Much of this legislation has been informed by a broader “local first” movement.  Those in this movement champion the many benefits of conducting business on a small local scale.

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Achieving a Greater Buffalo

Niagara River Greenway Commission Apr 1, 2007

This policy report argues that improving the quality of life for residents of all backgrounds living in Buffalo’s urban neighborhoods should be a central objective of any economic revitalization plan for the region.  In the process of strengthening housing and employment opportunities in the urban core, Buffalo should strive to become a premiere destination for innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs seeking a low-cost, culturally vibrant place in which to live and work.  The …

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Taxes in New York State: Restoring Fairness and Equity to the Personal Income Tax to Reverse Decades of Reliance on the Property Tax- Short and Long Term Solutions

Ron Deutsch — Dec 31, 2006

Governor Spitzer  created a Property Tax Commission to examine the root causes of high property taxes in NYS.

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The Buffalo Financial Control Board

James Magavern — Nov 15, 2003

The current fiscal crisis of the City of Buffalo arises from and exemplifies the failure of state and local government over many decades to respond adequately to the shift of population, and especially the disproportionate shift of wealth, from the old central cities to the ever growing urban fringe beyond their boundaries.  For example, the Town of Amherst, with a population of 110,000 now has a larger real property tax base than the City of Buffalo, with a population of 293,000.  …

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Fundamental Shifts Have Altered the Role of Local Governments

James Magavern — Jan 30, 2001

In the day-to-day practice of law, the most pervasive change in municipal law has been ever-increasing specialization.  This is attributable in small part to the continuing elaboration of common law doctrine and in larger part to a dense overlay of state and federal regulation (including regulation through grant conditions), not only of the private sector but of local government itself.  For example, consider the State Environmental Quality Review Act, Taylor Law, and Freedom of …

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Governance in Erie County: A Foundation for Understanding and Action

Kathryn Foster, David C. Perry, Alfred D. Price, John B. Sheffer, II, Henry Louis Taylor, Jr. — Jan 26, 1996

Project Name: The University at Buffalo Governance Project The University at Buffalo Governance Project was an interdisciplinary research effort to study governance issues in Erie County. The Governance Project was founded upon the premise that a vigorous region requires competent, informed decision making, especially in the public sector.

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Integrity and Ethical Standards in New York State Government: Final Report to the Governor

Lou Jean Fleron, Lois Gray Jan 1, 1990

September 1990 letter from the New York State Commission on Government Integrity to Governor Mario M. Cuomo.  “This letter constitutes the final report of the Commission on Government Integrity.  The Commission was created by Executive Order 88.1 and directed to examine a wide variety of subjects concerning government integrity in New York State.  Since its inception, the Commission has submitted 20 reports containing specific recommendations for reform of New York laws, …

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