Buffalo Commons



Buffalo Common Council

Alana Barrington Dye, Schyler Norton, Edward Hawthorne — Feb 20, 2019

This fact sheet was drafted by PPG interns Alana Barrington Dye and Schyler Norton. It updates a 2009 version by Edward Hawthorne, a University at Buffalo School of Law student. It outlines the powers and responsibilities of the Buffalo Common Council and includes contact details and brief background information for the nine sitting council members. The fact sheet also lists the current committees and subcommittees of the Common Council, and where and when meetings are held. 

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Rental Housing Costs in Buffalo

Sarah Wooton — Oct 15, 2018

With the renewed popularity of urban living, along with substantial public and private investment in the city, the value of property throughout Buffalo is on the rise. Certain neighborhoods, including Downtown, Allentown, Hertel/Parkside and areas on the West and East sides, are becoming hot markets – with many homes worth double or triple what owners paid for them. As property values rise in cities, rents do too.

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Farm Fresh Foods: What to Know About Growing and Selling Produce in Buffalo

Colleen Roberts — Aug 1, 2018

It details local regulations on market and community gardens as well as rules for selling produce. It includes tips to find the right locations to plant food gardens and opportunities for education on growing and selling. It addresses topics such as plant selection and soil safety.

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2017 Erie County Homelessness Brief

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — Jul 10, 2018

The Homeless Alliance of WNY publishes reports of homelessness in the five-county region that we serve. The information is from HMIS, departments of social services, and providers. HMIS serves as the primary data source and nearly all agencies in the five-county area who are not on HMIS provide aggregate counts. Increased coverage of HMIS has led to an improved understanding of homelessness in Western New York. This summary zeroes in on Erie County. If you have any questions about the …

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2017 Homeless Alliance Summary Brief: Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — Jul 10, 2018

The Homeless Alliance of WNY publishes reports of homelessness in the five-county region that we serve. The information is from HMIS, departments of social services, and providers. HMIS serves as the primary data source and nearly all agencies in the five-county area who are not on HMIS provide aggregate counts. Increased coverage of HMIS has led to an improved understanding of homelessness in Western New York. This summary zeroes in on Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming Counties.  If you …

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2017 Homelessness Summary Brief

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — Jul 10, 2018

The Homeless Alliance of WNY publishes reports of homelessness in the five-county region that we serve. The information is from HMIS, departments of social services, and providers. HMIS serves as the primary data source and nearly all agencies in the five-county area who are not on HMIS provide aggregate counts. Increased coverage of HMIS has led to an improved understanding of homelessness in Western New York.  If you have any questions about the annual report, please …

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2017 Niagara County Homelessness Brief

Homeless Alliance of Western New York — Jul 10, 2018

The Homeless Alliance of WNY publishes reports of homelessness in the five-county region that we serve. The information is from HMIS, departments of social services, and providers. HMIS serves as the primary data source and nearly all agencies in the five-county area who are not on HMIS provide aggregate counts. Increased coverage of HMIS has led to an improved understanding of homelessness in Western New York. This summary zeroes in on Niagara County. If you have any questions about the annual …

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Restorative Practices in Buffalo: Building and Rebuilding Community

Kathryn Franco — Apr 21, 2018

Restorative practices/restorative justice (RP or RJ)  is an alternative approach to our current punitive system of addressing conflict and crime. It is an age-old practice with origins in many indigenous cultures and has become increasingly popular in schools, communities and court systems in recent years. Here in Buffalo, individuals began advocating for restorative justice nearly two decades ago. Since then, many organizations, community groups, and schools have been using the practice …

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The City of Buffalo Police Department

Sarah Wooton — Dec 21, 2017

This fact sheet was drafted by Sarah Wooton, a policy analyst at Partnership for the Public Good. It documents the history and demographics of the City of Buffalo Police Department, its recent activity, its organization and chain of command, the bodies that are tasked with oversight of the department, and how residents can file a complaint. The fact sheet shares the current schedule of district community meetings happening monthly across the City, and concludes by listing contact information …

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Child Care Subsidy Fact Sheet

WNY Women's Foundation — Nov 27, 2017

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WNY Women & Children Living in Poverty Fact Sheet

WNY Women's Foundation — Nov 27, 2017

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Starting a School Recycling Program

Buffalo Recycling Alliance — Oct 20, 2017

The Buffalo Recycling Alliance compiled a list of foundational aspects and resources to start a school recycling program.

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Recycling Policies For Businesses 2017

Buffalo Recycling Alliance — Sep 27, 2017

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Life on a Nickel's Edge: Struggle and Dignity in Buffalo's Fruit Belt

John Marsland — Jun 1, 2017

This purpose of this fact sheet is to give a brief overview of the Fruit Belt neighborhood on Buffalo’s East Side in relation to community demographics, development, and efforts to control land use through the creation of the FB Community Land Trust. This fact sheet has three parts: an introduction to the 2016-2017 Humanities New York public humanities fellowship project; information gained from the conduct of that fellowship; links to other work that has been done in relation to the …

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The Story of the Puerto Rican-Chicano Committee (PRCC)

Alberto O. Cappas, Jose C. Pizarro — Jun 1, 2017

The concept or idea for The Puerto Rican-Chicano Committee (PRCC) came from UB student Alberto O. Cappas, who also was the original founder of PODER, at the time known as the Puerto Rican Organization for Dignity, Elevation, and Responsibility. Puerto Rican students, mostly from Buffalo, were instrumental in its development. A student by the name of Gloria Rodriguez, served as its first president. Shortly, the Puerto Rican students from New York City, added to the organization’s …

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Fruit Belt Neighborhood Asset Inventory

Sara Alpert — Oct 27, 2016

The Fruit Belt is bordered by North Street on the north, Jefferson Street on the east, the Kensington Expressway on the south, and Michigan Street on the west.  The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) lies directly west of the Fruit Belt, across Michigan Street.  Historically, the neighborhood was much larger, encompassing the area where the BNMC is now located, and stretching from Main Street in the West to Best Street in the north, and Genesee Street in the east.  However, …

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Credit Unions and Banks Near Downtown Buffalo

Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc. Jul 6, 2016

Fact Sheet outlining credit unions and banks near Downtown Buffalo.

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Bangladeshi Immigrants in Buffalo

Anthony Hilbert Jun 1, 2016

Bangladeshi immigrants have relocated to Buffalo, New York, at a pace that has surprised many.  The size of Buffalo’s Bangladeshi population is unknown.  The U.S. Census estimates that 316 Bangladeshis live in Buffalo, but Liberty Yellow Taxi alone employs about 367.  Most Bangladeshi praise Buffalo, but some worry that social and religious intolerance is growing.  A number of men in the mosque have expressed concern about anti-Muslim rhetoric on local talk …

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Typical Elements in Limited English Proficiency Plans

Sam Magavern Nov 30, 2015

Outlines the typical elements in Limited English Proficiency Plans (LEP).  

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Immigrants, Refugees, and Languages Spoken in Buffalo

Deandra Fike, Subin Chung, Emily Riordan — Jul 14, 2015

According to 2000 Census Data, Buffalo ranked last of 48 major metro areas in gaining immigrants, and the percentage of Buffalo residents born in foreign countries remains relatively low.  However, from 2000 to 2010, the Buffalo-Niagara Metro Area saw a 33% rise in foreign-born population, growing from 4.4% of the total population in 2000 to 6.0% in 2010.  The main reason for this increase is the number of refugees being resettled in Buffalo.  Refugees are people fleeing war, …

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Eritrean Refugees in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

Eritrea was once part of Ethiopia, but began a struggle for independence in the 1960s and finally became established as a separate country in 1993.  The civil war that preceded the separation lasted for approximately 30 years, beginning while Eritrea was still considered part of Ethiopia and continued until 2000, even after independence was granted.  Three waves of migration from Eritrea to the US occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, as refugees escaped the violent civil war, finding …

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From Central Africa to Buffalo: Refugees from Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Rwanda, and Burundi

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

For the past several decades Central Africa has been wrought with conflict, including both civil wars and international conflicts.  Many different ethnic groups are involved in various capacities, creating tensions within and between countries.  Do not assume that individuals from the same country are of the same ethnic group or religious affiliation.  There are important differences among the ethnic and tribal groups, and because of the longstanding tensions among some of the …

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Nepali Bhutanese Refugees in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

Bhutanese refugees have a complicated history.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, an influx of undocumented Nepali immigrants into Bhutan occurred.  These individuals were settled in the southern region of Bhutan and referred to as Lhotshampas, meaning “southerners”.  The Bhutanese government enforced the Bhutanese Citizenship Act of 1958 as an effort to more closely control the immigration.  The government wished to promote cultural and national unity …

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Refugees from Iraq in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

The country of Iraq suffers from war and terrorism on a daily basis.  Currently the population of Iraq is approximately 28 million, of whom about 75% are Arab, 17% are Kurds and the remainder mostly Armenians, Assyrians and Turks.  The turmoil in Iraq includes violent disputes among Sunni Muslim and Shi’ite Muslim; persecution due to political allegiance; and targeting of vulnerable populations, such as women, by militias and insurgents.  Over two million Iraqis have …

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Refugees from Somalia in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

Somalia is a country that has been divided by civil war since the 1980s.  It began due to resistance to the regime of Siad Barre.  Once he was overthrown in the 1980s, the resulting power vacuum led to violence.  Peace efforts from multi-national groups, neighboring countries, and the United Nations have been attempted, but violence continues and has forced many to flee the country for safety.  Somalia is one of the most homogenous countries in Africa.  Approximately …

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Refugees from Sudan in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

Sudan is ethnically diverse and physically vast.  It has endured many years of violent civil war between the Arab/Muslim North and the Black/Christian South.  In 2011, South Sudan gained its independence from the North so that two governments now rule; however, the conflict has continued.  There are at least 10 different ethnic groups among the refugees from Sudan that have resettled in the United States.  Since 2003, New York State has resettled 897 Sudanese refugees, with …

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Yemeni Immigrants in Western New York

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 8, 2015

The country of Yemen came into being in May of 1990 when North Yemen merged with South Yemen.  Sanaa, the former capital of the North, became the political capital, and Aden, the former capital of the South, became the economic center.  Because of the less-developed economy in Yemen, many Yemenites (predominantly males) have emigrated out of the country seeking employment, often to send money back home.  In addition, a brutal police force and government have led to violence and …

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Afghan Refugees in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 7, 2015

Afghanistan is a diverse country with many different ethnicities, often differentiated by language or religious beliefs.  Many of the groups can also be found in the nations that border Afghanistan: Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China.  Since 2003, New York State has resettled 395 Afghan refugees, including 63 in 2013.  Many of these have settled in Erie County.  Many recently resettled individuals from Afghanistan have come with “SIV” …

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Burman, Karen, and Chin Refugees: From Burma to Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Daniel Cadzow Jul 7, 2015

Burma, officially known as the Republic of Myanmar, is a small nation in Asia, bordering Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand.  For many years, the nation has suffered military dictatorship, inflicting violence and torture on various ethnic groups.  Burma is one of the most diverse countries in the world.  The largest ethnic groups, making up approximately 68% of the nation’s population, are the Burmans, also called Bamar.  Other ethnic groups include the Chin, …

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Best Practices in Language Access and Cultural Competency

International Institute of Buffalo, Jewish Family Services — Jul 1, 2015

Checklist outlining an agency/company's best practices and cultural environment for language access and competency.

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From Puerto Rico to Buffalo

Jun 22, 2015

Puerto Rico is currently an unincorporated territory of the U.S.  There is much debate over the future of Puerto Rico, usually focusing on three major choices; statehood, independence, or remaining a U.S. territory.  Since 1917, its people have been U.S. citizens, and their movement throughout the states is therefore officially termed internal migration.  However, the transition made by Puerto Ricans who move to the continental U.S. can involve the same changes and challenges …

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Vacant and Abandoned Housing in Buffalo

Marc Masson — Dec 1, 2014

Buffalo has the oldest housing stock in the nation, with the largest percentage (67%) of homes built before 1940.  In Erie County in 2013 there were 275 cases of elevated lead levels in children.  The City of Buffalo has three of five zip codes in state with worst lead poisoning levels and accounts for roughly 95% of county lead cases.  As of 2008, 13%-22% of children in the City suffered from asthma.  In 2006, the City received 7,460 calls regarding housing violations and …

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Employment Data for Buffalo

Allison Considine — Sep 1, 2014

The types of jobs available in Buffalo have changed post-recession, with midlevel skilled jobs disappearing and high and low skill jobs growing.  The loss of jobs in fields such as teaching, office administration, factory work and construction work during the recession is exacerbated by the fact that many midlevel jobs, such as manufacturing, are being automated or sent to cheaper markets.  Growth has occurred on the high and low skill ends of the spectrum, however, with increases in …

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Public Education in Buffalo and the Region

Marc Masson — Sep 1, 2014

The biggest problem facing Buffalo’s public schools is the fact that many students live in poverty, while at the same time being segregated from students from wealthier communities who tend to enjoy better educational opportunities and rates of academic success.  Buffalo shares many of the problems of large cities in the United States, largely caused by high concentrations of poverty in urban areas.  In 2009, about 59% of students served by urban school districts located in the …

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Language Access

Marc Masson Aug 1, 2014

Failing to provide appropriate language assistance can put your practice at the risk of violating laws related to medical malpractice, informed consent, breach of the legal duty to warn, and breach of the patient’s privacy rights.  In addition, federal civil rights laws require meaningful language access from all recipients of federal dollars.  The level of access required depends on four factors: (1) The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be …

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Gang Prevention in Buffalo, NY and National Best Practices

Gabriella Agostinelli — Apr 25, 2013

While there is no consensus over a specific definition of “gang,” research has identified a group of characteristics to discern whether a group is a “gang.”  According to the Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention, these characteristics include: formal organizational structure (not a syndicate), identifiable leadership, identified territory, recurrent interaction, and engaging in serious or violent behavior.

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Housing Segregation, Inequality, and Poverty in Buffalo-Niagara

Gabriella Agostinelli Apr 17, 2013

The Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan area is slowly losing population and growing more diverse.  From 2000 to 2010, the metro population fell from 1,170,111 to 1,135,509, a loss of 34,602.  During those ten years, the Hispanic population rose 36.7%, multi-racial rose 38.1%, and Asian rose 68.7%, while white population fell 6.4%, black fell 0.2%, and American Indian fell 0.2%.  In 2010, the metropolitan area was 79.5% white, 11.8% black, 4.1% Hispanic, and 2.3% Asian.  As of …

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The Great Recession in Buffalo-Niagara

Ramon Garcia — Jan 17, 2013

At the end of the last decade, the U.S. experienced its most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.  The so-called “Great Recession” shocked the economies of virtually every metropolitan area in the nation.  Officially, the recession began in December of 2007 and ended in June 2009.  But for much of the country, recovery has been very slow; over three years since the expansion began the nation had gained back less than half of the jobs it had lost during …

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Health Data for Buffalo and Erie County

Sam Magavern, Jacqueline MacKeller, Jessica Bauer-Walker Nov 26, 2012

Health data for Buffalo and Erie County redacted from the Erie County Community Health Assessment from 2010-2013.

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Composting Food and Yard Waste: A Guide for Individuals, Non-Profits, and the City of Buffalo

Rebecca Mize — Oct 11, 2012

In 2010, the United States added 68 million tons of food and yard waste to landfills, accounting for roughly 34% of all municipal solid waste.  Lowering the amount of this waste in a city’s garbage saves the taxpayers money and protects the environment.  Composting is an easy and inexpensive solution.  Instead of throwing out food and yard waste, homeowners, not-for-profits, businesses and local government can reuse it to create compost, a useful product that can be …

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Population Trends in Buffalo-Niagara

Ramon Garcia — Oct 2, 2012

Like a number of places in the nation’s manufacturing belt, the Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan area has been losing population over the past several decades.  This decline reflects the ongoing population shift from the Northeast and Midwest to warmer places in the South and West, as well as the considerable loss of manufacturing jobs in the region.  In recent decades, some large metros experiencing domestic out-migration have seen their populations bolstered by migrants from …

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How to Recycle Special Items in Buffalo-Niagara

Catholic Care for Creation Committee of Buffalo — Sep 27, 2012

Alphabetized special product listing and where you can recycling it in Buffalo-Niagara.

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Buffalo's Assets

Perry Choice Neighborhood Planning Team Jun 1, 2012

In its Principles for a Revitalized Buffalo, the Partnership for the Public Good calls for a strategy that starts from our assets.  This Buffalo Brief provides just a small sampling of our region’s assets.

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Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program: Job Training Program for Disadvantaged Workers

Michael Cimasi — May 1, 2012

This pilot program in Buffalo trains entry level workers for successful placement in the building trades and skilled trades’ apprenticeship programs.  As a pre-apprenticeship program, BTPAP does not attempt to replicate the specialized training that is part of an apprenticeship program.  Rather, BTPAP uses a “holistic approach” to basic skills development, including construction related mathematics, job search training, and exposure to various fields of skilled labor …

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Erie County Work Experience Program Partnerships with Non-Profits Offer Work Experience to Temporary Assistance to Needy Family Recipients

Gretchen Sullivan — May 1, 2012

TANF stands for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.  It is one of the United States federal assistance programs.  It began on July 1, 1997, and succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.  It provides cash assistance to indigent American families with dependent children through the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

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Buffalo's Community Health Centers: Healthcare for People with Low Incomes

Christopher Szczygiel — Apr 1, 2012

Community health centers are non-profit, community-oriented healthcare providers.  Generally, they are a subset of Federally Qualified Health Centers, institutions that receive special funding because they provide medical care to underserved populations.  They offer preventative and primary healthcare, including physical exams, routine testing and screening, immunizations, dental care, pediatrics, women’s health, prenatal care, and nutritional services.  These clinics are …

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Creating Assets, Savings & Hope Buffalo

Rachel Swyers — Apr 1, 2012

Created in 2004, Creating Assets, Saving & Hope (CASH) Buffalo works to increase the financial stability of low-to-moderate income families in Buffalo and Erie County.  CASH’s mission is to increase the financial stability of low-income families by increasing access to tax credits, refunds, and needed income supports; improving financial literacy, and providing opportunities for homeownership, education, or other types of asset building.

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Habitat for Humanity Buffalo

Aikeem Cooper — Apr 1, 2012

Habitat for Humanity Buffalo (HFHB) is a non-profit ecumenical Christian housing organization.  It was founded in 1985 by a group of concerned citizens including Ron Talboys, who had visited the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Americus Georgia.  The Buffalo affiliate of HFHB was the 101st affiliate to be started in the United States.  Over the past 26 years, HFHB has worked in all nine council districts of Buffalo and in nearby Lackawanna.  The goal of HFHB, and all …

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Massachusetts Avenue Project: Urban Farming and Job Skills for Youth

Rebecca Mize — Apr 1, 2012

Massachusetts Avenue Project (“MAP”) seeks to make food systems more local and inclusive.  MAP nurtures the growth of a diverse and equitable community food system to promote local economic opportunities, access to affordable and nutritious food, and social-change education.  MAP grows fresh produce on its urban farm on the West Side of Buffalo.  Annually, MAP employs roughly 50 at-risk youth to transform the community’s food system.  The programs reflect …

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Project Dandelion

Timothy Moriarty — Apr 1, 2012

Project Dandelion, a project of Neighborhood Legal Services, brings together community and legal support for families and individuals receiving public assistance, helping them to attain economic self-sufficiency through legal advocacy, training, peer group support, publications, volunteer opportunities, and legal information.

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The Buffalo Living Wage Ordinance

Joseph Guza — Apr 1, 2012

Buffalo’s Living Wage Ordinance (LWO) provides that certain workers must be paid a living wage.  The goal of the LWO is to make sure that employees working for the City of Buffalo and its contractors earn enough to keep their families out of poverty.  Buffalo’s LWO was passed unanimously in 1995 but was not implemented until 2002.  The LWO was amended in 2002 and 2007.

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The Matt Urban HOPE Center and the Housing First Model

Justine Miller — Apr 1, 2012

Housing First successfully addresses homelessness by giving chronically homeless people permanent housing.  Once in a Housing First program, chronically homeless people get a permanent place to live immediately, despite possible untreated drug, alcohol, or emotional health problems.  Matt Urban Hope Center operates one of the first Housing First programs in the Buffalo region.  Housing First is permanent housing, while shelters are only temporary, meaning people are only allowed …

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Geographies of Poverty: Buffalo-Niagara Metropolitan Area

Christopher Szczygiel — Mar 16, 2012

The local economy is often discussed in terms of the Buffalo-Niagara Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a multi-county area with a population of over one million.  While it is useful to take a regional perspective, it is also useful to consider individual cities, towns or villages.  The economic picture in the city of Buffalo (population 266,012) is so quite different than that of the town of Holland (population 3,430).  The poverty rates in the cities of Buffalo (29.6%) and …

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The Geography of Poverty: City of Buffalo

Robert Grimaldi — Mar 16, 2012

Between 2000 and 2010, several census tracts on the East and West Sides fell deeper into poverty.  Broadway-Fillmore’s poverty rate rose from 45.9% to 51.9%, the Niagara Street neighborhood immediately west of Downtown rose from 45.6% to 62.5%, and two tracts in Black Rock rose from 39.2% and 36.3% to 46.0%.  Also, several North Buffalo neighborhoods experienced significant drops in poverty rates, including Parkside falling from 28.2% to 15.8%, Central Park falling from 16.0% to …

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Localization in Buffalo

Kathleen Moriarty — Dec 31, 2011

Generally speaking, localization is the idea of keeping as much of a region’s resources and energy as local as possible - business, employment, agricultural yields, and economic goods.  Localization also includes an effort to reduce the distance that goods travel between production and consumption.

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Workforce Training Programs

Kathleen Moriarty — Dec 31, 2011

Workforce training programs are typically community sponsored organizations whose primary goals are to assist (1) community members in gaining employment and (2) employers in finding qualified workers. Organizations that focus on workforce training needs make every effort to be “one stop” shops: they bring together employers, employees and training programs to maximize communication and efficiency. Many of the partner organizations also provide GED preparation and assistance in …

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Benefit Corporation Legislation in New York: What's the Benefit

Amanda Dermady — Oct 30, 2011

Formerly in New York State, businesses could operate as one of six different types: a business corporation, not-for-profit corporation, limited liability company, general partnership, limited partnership, or sole proprietorship.  If Governor Cuomo signs the bill, businesses will be given a seventh option – the benefit corporation.  A business corporation can incorporate under New York State law by filing a Certificate of Incorporation under Section 402 of the Business …

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Front Park's Past and Future

Lawrence Bice — Oct 30, 2011

Front Park is a 26-acre urban park in Buffalo, New York.  The park entrance is located on Porter Avenue.  The park is bounded on the west by interstate 190, on the north by the Peace Bridge truck plaza and on the north by Busti Avenue and the adjacent Columbus Park-Prospect Hill neighborhood.  Front Park is part of Buffalo’s Olmsted park system.  The park system takes its name from its most prominent original designer, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr., a nationally renowned …

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Monitoring Pollution in our Communities: The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York

Kathleen Gabel — Oct 30, 2011

The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York (CACWNY) is a community health and advocacy group working to ensure local residents’ right to a healthy environment.  The group organizes media campaigns, provides resources, and designs programs to help reduce pollution in local communities.

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Vacant Lot Greening Options in Buffalo

Robert Grimaldi — Oct 30, 2011

The main goals of PUSH (People United for Sustainable Housing) and its development subsidiary, the Buffalo Neighborhood Stabilization Corporation (BNSC), are to mobilize residents to create strong neighborhoods with quality affordable housing, to expand local hiring opportunities, and to advance economic justice in Buffalo.

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Buffalo, Amherst, and Erie County: Worlds Apart

Jonathan Baird Aug 31, 2011

Examines demographic, population, and economic markers between Buffalo, Amherst, and Erie County.

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Education Data for Buffalo

Jonathan Baird Aug 18, 2011

Fact Sheet Outlining Education Data for Buffalo.  Includes: Educational attainment of those over 25, four year graduation rate, and percent's of adults with Bachelor's degrees.

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Poverty and Casino Gambling in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Elaina Mule — Jan 19, 2011

The Buffalo Creek Casino will exacerbate Buffalo’s poverty.  Casinos, especially urban casinos, attract many gamblers living at or near the poverty line, and problem or pathological gamblers often fall from the middle class into poverty.  Proximity to casinos is a major factor in problem gambling.  The Buffalo Creek Casino is located in a high-poverty zone.  Population’s already facing high poverty rates and inequalities, such as African Americans, have higher …

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Buffalo Public Schools Reconstruction

Louise Calixte — Dec 8, 2010

The Buffalo Public Schools Reconstruction is an ambitious 10-year reconstruction and renovation program.  The project is designed to provide state-of- the-art learning environments, upgrade the public school infrastructure, and strengthen surrounding residential and commercial neighborhoods.

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Urban Farming in Buffalo: Economic Development and Climate Change Strategy

Michael Raleigh — Oct 27, 2010

Our food system is heavily industrialized, which means it consumes an incredible amount of resources, including energy derived from burning fossil fuels.  By one estimate, the food system takes 10 calories of energy to produce one calorie of food.  The phrase “eating oil” refers to our use of oil to power the machines that plant seeds, spray pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides, spread fertilizer, operate irrigation pumps, till the soil, harvest and process crops, and …

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Environmental Data for Buffalo

Michael Raleigh Sep 7, 2010

Environmental fact sheet outlining environmental data in Buffalo.  This includes: land use; vehicles; global warming; sprawl; water quality; parks, trees, lots; air quality; energy; garbage and recycling. 

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The Buffalo Urban Development Corporation

Heather Anderson — Jun 9, 2010

The non-profit corporation is run by a Board of Directors, which consists of the members of the Corporation.  The By-laws of the BUDC set forth how the members/directors are to be selected. Although the Officers may have salaries, at this time, none of the Officers are compensated for their services.  The By-laws provide that there are to be eighteen members/directors of the corporation, and that the members/directors are to be elected or appointed.

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Unionization of Low Wage Workers

Brian Hartmann — Apr 22, 2010

The unionization of workers, particularly those engaged in occupations which pay low wages, has often been criticized by business leaders as stifling economic development.  This brief explores unionization of low wage work in both national and local terms and discusses its effects on economic development and on the lives of workers.  It asserts that in spite of the recent decline in union participation, the organizing of low wage labor significantly increases workers’ quality of …

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An Educational Gift: Teacher Aides in New York State

Alexa Rissoff — Apr 20, 2010

Teacher Aides, also referred to as teacher assistants, instructional aides, paraprofessionals or paraeducators, generally provide non-instructional and clerical support for classroom teachers.  While this fact sheet focuses on teacher aides, it is important to briefly note the major differences between teacher aides and teaching assistants in New York.

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Dishwashers: Workers in a Low-Wage Occupation

Robert Strassel — Apr 20, 2010

There are no educational or licensing requirements to become a dishwasher.  Typically, dishwashers are trained on the job by experienced co-workers.  Some employers require employees to complete educational materials addressing issues including safety guidelines, equipment maintenance, and cleansing procedures.

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Landscapers and Grounds Keepers

Ryan Parisi — Apr 20, 2010

The tasks of a landscaper or groundskeeper in the Buffalo region vary by the time of year and even the day.  The jobs include mowing lawns, “edging” driveways and sidewalks, trimming bushes, trees and other vegetation, planting vegetation, removing old or dead vegetation, fall and spring “clean ups” which involve cleaning a property and preparing it for the next season, watering vegetation, maintaining overall appearance of property, mulching, weeding, and pruning …

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The Job of a UB Janitor

Michael Raleigh — Apr 20, 2010

It varies.  You can do carpet shampoo, floor work, taking care of trash, recycling, clean up spills of blood or chemicals, snow removal.  It depends on the building.  I work in some of the medical buildings where there are different labs and experiments.  Other people who work in residence halls do not deal with these different conditions.  Yeah, you bet it can be dangerous.  Some of the areas where people work have nuclear materials.  There is a nuclear …

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Working as an EMT

Robert Mietlicki — Apr 20, 2010

The work of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) is often the difference between life and death for a patient.  EMTs respond to various medical emergencies including car accidents, heart attacks, slips and falls of the elderly, childbirth, and gunshot wounds.  In responding to emergencies, EMTs assess a patient’s condition, determine pre-existing medical conditions, and provide emergency care while transporting patients to an emergency room.  EMTs often work with police …

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Exploring Low Wage Work in the Farming Industry

Stuart Frame — Apr 19, 2010

Farm work encompasses a variety of different jobs.  When I worked for a farmer and farm market owner in Rochester, my tasks ranged from picking corn and berries to sell in the market, hoeing weeds in the pumpkin patch, and irrigating and helping plow the fields and maintaining the orchards.  I very much enjoyed, as did my interview contact, certain aspects of farm work.  It is very fulfilling to spend the day working outside with one’s hands.  The variety of tasks that …

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Food Service Workers in Buffalo Public Schools

Rachel Jones — Apr 19, 2010

Generally, employees are expected to assist the cook in the preparation and serving of the food. These workers are also required to clean all areas, as well as dishes and cooking utensils.  They must maintain clean spaces in the kitchen and in the rest rooms.  The food service worker could also be required to serve as a cashier or checker.  There are other possible employment conditions.

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Food Service Workers in Restaurants: Short Order Cooks, First-Line Supervisors, and Managers

Lisa Diaz-Ordaz — Apr 19, 2010

Short order cooks are restaurant workers who prepare food as it is ordered by customers.  First-line supervisors also have to prepare food, but at the same time they must supervise the other workers who are cooking and preparing food.  In contrast, food service managers are responsible for the daily operations of a restaurant including all administrative and human resource functions of the restaurant.  In Erie County in 2008, the average weekly wage for a cook at a limited …

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Home Health Aides

Chenoa Maye — Apr 19, 2010

Home health aides typically work for certified home health or hospice agencies that receive government funding and therefore must comply with extensive regulations.  This means that home health aides must work under the direct supervision of a medical professional, usually a nurse.  The aides keep records of services performed and of clients' condition and progress.  They report changes in the client's condition to the supervisor or case manager.  Aides also work with …

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Retail Sales: Selling to make a Living

Neil Diegelman — Apr 19, 2010

Interview with retail salesperson conducted March 16, 2010.  James Silver is a 28-year old white male working at Sears.  His work week consists of between 35 and 40 hours, and he has been employed with Sears for over five years.  James has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo.

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Sanitation Workers in the City of Buffalo

Dannine Consoli — Apr 19, 2010

Sanitation workers, also referred to as refuse collectors, collect trash from homes and businesses.  They either lift the garbage cans themselves or use a hydraulic lift for dumpsters.  The work is physically demanding and repetitive.  Sometimes they have to lift large heavy objects, such as furniture or large kitchen appliances.  They normally work an 8 hour shift that often begins between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. They usually work regardless of the weather.

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School Bus Monitors in Western New York

Brian Hartmann — Apr 19, 2010

The New York State Department of Education defines a “bus monitor” (also commonly referred to as a “bus aide”) as any person employed for the purpose of assisting children to safely embark and disembark from a school bus which is owned, leased or contracted for by a public school district or board of cooperative educational services, and for the purpose of assisting the school bus driver with maintaining proper student behavior on such school bus.

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Working as a Security Guard in Western New York

Owen Field — Apr 19, 2010

Being a security guard is something to be proud of.  A security guard protects people, and the job can be challenging and even dangerous.  Guards have to be licensed, and there are certain safety measures and skills that they have to learn.  Security guards can save lives, stop terrorism, and make entire neighborhoods feel more comfortable.  Under the right circumstances, security can make a good career. There can be opportunities for increased rankings and advancements, and …

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Working as a Receptionist

Kasia McDonald — Mar 25, 2010

According to the New York Department of Labor, the job prospects for receptionists from 2006-2016 are very favorable.  Currently, the median wage for receptionists in western New York is $24,500, with, on an annual basis, 170 new openings and a projected 6% annual job growth.  In 2006, there were 5,670 employed as a receptionist in this region; in 2016, there are expected to be 6,010.  Nationally, receptionist held 1.1 million jobs in 2008, with the largest numbers working in …

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Environmental Health and Racial Disparities in Buffalo

Sam Magavern, Partnership for the Public Good — Dec 31, 2009

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Erie County Sales Tax

Victoria Volk — May 4, 2009

The Erie County sales tax rate is 8.75%.  It is a general sales and compensating use tax which is levied on all taxable retail sales in Erie County.  Of the total 8.75% tax collected by the State of New York, 4% is retained as State revenue and 4.75% is returned to the County.  The county tax base rate is 3%.  However, Erie County has received authorization to add an additional 1% in 1985, and then an additional 0.75% in 2005-2006.

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Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Board

Victoria Volk — May 3, 2009

The Board consists of 15 members.  The B&ECPL board is a volunteer position.  There are however, some requirements an applicant must meet.  Eight of the board members must be residents of the city of Buffalo.  The Board members serve in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 768 of the Laws of the 1953 State of New York, known as “An Act authorizing the consolidation of city and public libraries.” The board members are also governed by Article 16 …

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Buffalo City Comptroller

Robert Sparks — May 3, 2009

Under the Buffalo Charter and Code, the Comptroller is the head of the Department of Audit and Control.  The Department of Audit and Control is broken down into three divisions: Division of Audit, Division of Accounting, and Division of Investment and Debt Management.  The Division of Audit is headed by the City Auditor; the Division of Accounting is headed by the City Accountant, and the Division of Investment and Debt Management is headed by the Investment and Debt Management …

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Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority

Scott Mancuso — May 3, 2009

The BFSA is a “corporate governmental agency” and an “instrumentality” of the State of New York. It is run by nine directors.  Only one of these directors need be a citizen of the City of Buffalo.  The governor designates two of the nine directors as “chairperson” and “vice-chairperson,” who preside over all meetings of the directors.

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Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority

Marnie Smith — May 3, 2009

To assist our residents in attaining and maintaining a high standard for their quality of life.  The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority will provide services and opportunities associated with affordable, desirable, and secure housing to individuals and families.  We will provide customer service, programs and amenities which are the best possible.  The BMHA also has a number of goals: to provide safe, clean, affordable housing to residents of the City of Buffalo that will be …

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Buffalo Sewer Authority

Eric Vogan — May 3, 2009

The Buffalo Sewer Authority is a public benefit corporation created by the New York State legislature in 1935 to clean wastewater before it is released into the environment.  The BSA also maintains the storm drains for the City of Buffalo.  The BSA serves the residents and businesses of the Buffalo area as well as some neighboring communities.  Currently, around 98,000 Buffalo residents and nearly 400 businesses in the City of Buffalo are served by the BSA. 

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Buffalo Water Authority

Amanda Schieber — May 3, 2009

The Buffalo Municipal Water Finance Authority Act governs the Water Board.  In general, the Buffalo Water Authority is empowered to establish, fix, revise, change, collect, and enforce the payments of all fees, rates, rents, and other service charges for the use of the services furnished by the system.  The Buffalo Water Authority is in charge of setting rates and of capital improvements to the system as a whole over $10,000.  Some specific powers of the Water Board: terminate …

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City of Buffalo Common Council

Edward Hawthorne — May 3, 2009

The Mayor is responsible for all executive and administrative functions and controls the day-to-day affairs of the City.  Under the City Charter the Mayor may veto actions taken by the Council.  The Council may override the Mayor’s veto with a vote of six of the nine members.  Each Council Member is elected by receiving a majority of the vote from the district in which they are seeking to serve.  The leadership positions of the Common Council are selected by and from …

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Erie County Comptroller

Robert Coly — May 3, 2009

The Erie County Comptroller derives his or her authority from New York State County Law, Article 14. New York State has established a method for choosing a comptroller and a set of rules governing the comptroller’s duties.  Erie County has chosen to elect a comptroller and defines the office’s authority in Article 19 of the Erie County Charter.  Erie County’s comptroller will serve terms of four years, and should be elected from the county at large.

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Erie County Industrial Development Agency

Patrick Fitzsimmons — May 3, 2009

The ECIDA is a public benefit corporation created by the New York State Legislature for the purpose of attracting and retaining private sector business development in Erie County.  That development creates local job opportunities and improves the overall economic environment for the people of Erie County.

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Erie County Legislature

Alicia Giglio — May 3, 2009

New York State County Law allows each county to designate a board of supervisors to supervise the county.  However, if the county chooses, it may establish an elected county legislative body to take on the functions, powers, obligations and duties of the board of supervisors.  In Erie County this elected legislative body is the Erie County Legislature.  The Erie County Legislature serves all of the residents of Erie County.  In order to equally represent all residents, the …

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Erie County Sewer Division and Sewer Districts

Nathan Kerstein — May 3, 2009

Each district is a self-supporting entity with the power to assess fees and levy local charges.  New York state law gives nearly complete autonomy to the county to run their agencies.  The specific agencies are empowered to assemble data relating to the water resources available in the county, number and location of wells, contaminants that are present in the supply of the water in the county, sewage collection and related issues that may arise.  Erie County has made the decision …

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Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA)

Michelle Liberty — May 3, 2009

NFTA provides transportation services in the Buffalo-Niagara region.  It oversees the Metro Bus and Rail System, the NFTA Boat Harbor, the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and the Niagara Falls International Airport.  NFTA is governed by a state law, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Act which created the Authority to further and improve transportation services within the Niagara Frontier. 

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Office of the Erie County Executive

Janette Clarke — May 3, 2009

The County Executive also has the power to appoint citizens to serve on any one of thirty-six Volunteer Boards.  These Boards often compile information in their respective areas and advise the County Legislature and County Executive.  The Volunteer Boards include the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, the Council on the Disabled, the Fisheries Advisory, the Health Board, the Local Early Intervention Council, and the Youth Services Board, to name just a few.  There are …

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The Mayor of Buffalo

Carrie Weremblewski — May 3, 2009

If the Mayor is temporarily unable to perform the duties of his office, the mayor’s designated officer whose appointment has been confirmed by the Common Council shall act as Mayor until the Mayor is able to.  The designation must be in writing and filed with the city clerk.  If the Mayor has not made such a designation, the president of the Common Council shall perform the Mayor’s duties until the Mayor is able to.  If the office of Mayor is vacant (as a result of …

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County Planning Boards

Nathan Kerstein — May 2, 2009

The main focus of the board should be to implement the Framework for Regional Growth and to combat sprawl in the region.  From 1980 to 2000 the developed area grew thirty-eight percent, even though population fell nearly six percent.  It has been estimated by the county that better planned development could save $800 million.

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Erie County Property Taxes

Greg Michalek — May 2, 2009

It is a tax on the assessed value of real property.  Typically set by school boards, town boards, village boards, and city and county governments.  Applies to both homeowners and businesses, although rates and exemptions may differ.  Each board determines the total amount of taxes it needs to raise, and then divides that number by the total taxable assessed value of the jurisdiction to determine the tax rate.  Your share of the tax is calculated by multiplying the tax rate …

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Limited English Proficiency Access in Buffalo and Erie County

Amanda Schieber — May 2, 2009

An individual with a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English may be termed limited English proficient, or LEP.  In 2001, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 33% of Spanish speakers and 22.4% of Asian speakers between the ages of 18 and 64 reported that they spoke English either “not well” or “not at all.”  The percentages are based on the 2000 census, which reported 26 million individuals speaking Spanish as their primary language, and 7 …

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Municipal Unions

Edward Hawthorne — May 2, 2009

Erie County cannot hire part-time workers in place of full-time workers.  An arbitrator from the state's Public Employees Relations Board ruled in favor of the Civilian Service Employees Association Local 815. The union filed an improper practice charge last year after County Executive Chris Collins hired about 150 regular part time workers.  The arbitrator ruled that the county violated the state's Taylor Law when it failed to negotiate with the union before hiring part time workers …

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New York State Campaign Finance Laws

Patrick Fitzsimmons — May 2, 2009

Campaign finance laws govern how political candidates raise and spend monies for their elections.  In general, there are three ways in which states regulate campaign finance: (1) disclosure, (2) contribution limits, and (3) public financing.  Disclosure requires a candidate to disclose campaign-related contribution receipts as well as expenditures.  Expenditures can include anything from advertising material to travel expenses.  Contribution Limits restrict the amount of …

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Sustainability Offices for Local Governments

Robert Coly — May 2, 2009

The most widely recognized definition of sustainability is found in the 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.  It says that sustainability means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency also provides a definition of sustainability.  The EPA says that sustainability is “a new way of thinking about an …

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The Erie County Holding Center and Correctional Facility

Rachel Jones — May 2, 2009

The Erie County Holding Center is a maximum security detention center.  The Center is used to house inmates before their trials.  The Erie County Holding Center is located at 40 Delaware, Buffalo New York, 14202.  The Erie County Correctional Facility is a medium security facility, which can house 1,070 inmates.  It holds inmates who have committed a variety of different crimes.  The Correction Facility also houses parole violators for the State of New York.  These …

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Erie County's Budget

Eric Vogan — Apr 30, 2009

Citizens have two opportunities to influence the budget publically.  The first is when the County Executive and the Director of Budget and Management hold their public meetings, and the second is when the County Legislature holds its public meeting.  Citizens can also write to the County Executive and County Legislature to influence the budget.  If during the year a department needs more money for a program, the Executive can appropriate funds from one part of a department to …

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Public School Discipline: Alternatives to Suspension

Marnie Smith — Apr 29, 2009

Most public school districts rely heavily on suspensions for student discipline.  Section 2801 of the Education Law requires that school districts create a code of conduct, and one of the most common punishments for a violation of the code is out of school suspension.

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The City of Buffalo Budget Fiscal Year 2008-2009

Harvey Asiedu-Akrofi — Apr 29, 2009

The City asserts that it has the ability to: afford three successive property tax cuts”, thereby reducing the overall property tax rate on residential properties by nearly 12%; maintain an unprecedented unreserved fund balance of $105 million with $76 million undesignated; set aside $30 million in City surplus funds and up to $15 million in a separate capital reserve to ensure the City never again faces a fiscal crisis; move the City from a fiscal control period to an advisory one; …

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City of Buffalo Property Tax

Victoria Schmidt — Apr 26, 2009

The property tax is essentially a tax placed on property owners by the municipality.  Cities outside of New York City may use only revenue sources authorized by New York State, and the property tax is one of those few sources.  The property tax is based on the value of the property.  The tax is calculated by multiplying a property’s taxable assessment by the tax rate that applies to the tax jurisdiction where the property is located.

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Racial Disparities in Buffalo

Carrie Weremblewski — Apr 23, 2009

This fact sheet examines data on racial disparities in Buffalo and, where possible, compares it with data from four other medium-sized cities with similar racial composition.  Buffalo is the 8th most segregated metropolitan area in the nation. Segregation is prominent not only in the region, but also within the city, with South Buffalo consisting of 96% whites and 1% African Americans and Masten Community consisting of 87% African Americans.

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Childcare Workers

Leah Hardy — Apr 19, 2009

Childcare workers monitor infants and children to ensure their well-being and safety.  They provide primary care for infants (change diapers, prepare bottles, put them down for naps, etc.) and provide activities to keep older children occupied and help them to “develop self-esteem, curiosity, imagination, physical skills, and speech.”

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Buffalo Board of Parking

Elena Steigman — Apr 7, 2009

The mission of the Board of Parking (“BP”) is to relieve traffic congestion and to promote the clearance and reconstruction of substandard or unsanitary areas in Buffalo by coordinating City-owned and privately owned parking facilities and spaces strategically, environmentally and with minimal interference with Buffalo’s streetscapes, skyline and views.  The Mayor appoints eleven members to the Board of Parking for staggered five-year terms.  The Mayor designates the …

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Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority

Robert Goodwin — Dec 8, 2008

The Authority is an international entity, created out of an agreement between the State of New York, with the consent of the United States Congress, and the Canadian Government.  The Authority’s mission is to be known as the premier Canada/US international border crossing.  The Authority strives to provide excellent customer service and be an effective channel for trade and tourism between the two nations.  The Authority governs the Peace Bridge.  The …

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The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation

Michael Mettille — Dec 8, 2008

The ECHDC is currently developing the Inner and Outer Buffalo Harbor, most notably where the historic terminus of the Erie Canal is.  The ECHDC is also developing some of the surrounding area including the old Memorial Auditorium and the Donovan State Building.

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Artspace Buffalo: Buffalo Artists Residence & Gallery

Gary Phillips — Nov 20, 2008

Located at 1219 Main Street in Buffalo, New York, Artspace Buffalo provides affordable housing and work space for artists and their families, and commercial space for arts organizations and arts-related businesses.  Even though the project is relatively new, American Style Magazine, in its April 2008 issue, named Buffalo the top "Arts Destination for Mid-Sized Cities." Among the attractions and facilities that the magazine noted was Artspace Buffalo, which it said added to the city's …

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Buffalo Arts and Culture

Robert Goodwin — Nov 20, 2008

A 2003 study found that the combined spending of 700,000 tourists at 17 "sample" arts and cultural attractions and the organization's own spending during the 2003 summer, had a $75 million impact on the Buffalo Niagara region.  What is the Arts Council in Buffalo & Erie County? The Arts Council is a local organization, dedicated to advocating for and promoting the region's arts and cultural industry.  What role does New York State government play in supporting Buffalo's arts and …

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IDA Consolidation

Michael Mettille — Nov 20, 2008

Multiple IDA’s confuse businesses and force them to navigate too much red tape.  There are too many IDA’s and they have overlapping areas of responsibility.  Multiple IDA’s contribute to the region’s economic decline.  Multiple IDA’s foster a spirit of intramural competition among municipalities rather than fostering a spirit of cooperation to compete at the varsity level (i.e. national and international level.  No real growth is generated by …

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Immigrants and Refugees in Buffalo

Louise Calixte — Nov 20, 2008

Many of the refugees were living in refugee camps until migrating to Buffalo.  In these camps, time was not regulated.  In working for an employer, many immigrants find the time-orientation very challenging. A similar problem involves calling employers in situations where the worker is going to be late or will not be able to make it in that day.  In many of the foreign countries that the immigrants come from, a worker needs only come in late or the next day and explain what had …

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Informal Economies

Chris Berardi — Nov 20, 2008

The informal economy comprises the parts of the economy that are not regulated.  These parts include illicit activity like the sale of drugs, architects doing work under the table, hairdressers who operate in cash and don’t report their income, businesses employing illegal workers, and businesses operating without government required licenses.  Informal economic actors are often self-employed, or are employed elsewhere and operating an informal business on the side as a means …

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Community Benefits Agreements

Amy Kaslovsky — Nov 19, 2008

Community Benefits Agreements (CBA’s) are legally enforceable contracts between community groups and developers in which community groups promise to support the developers in seeking approvals, permits, or subsidies, and the developers promise to provide certain benefits to the surrounding community.  CBA’s are outgrowths of the civil rights, labor, and community organizing movements. CBA’s often represent community-based unionism, where organized labor supports …

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Economic Inequality in New York State

Amy Kaslovsky — Nov 19, 2008

New York State was the state with the greatest income disparity between the rich and poor in the mid-2000s.  At that time incomes in the bottom fifth of the population were 8.7 times lower than those in the top fifth.  In New York City this gap was even wider.  In the mid-2000s the City’s top income quintile had an average income 9.5 times higher than the average income of the bottom quintile.  Overall income in New York State grew between the 1980s and the mid-2000s …

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Alternative Tax Strategies for Local Governments

Robert Coly — Nov 18, 2008

During the fiscal year 2004-05, New Yorker’s paid approximately $111 billion in state and local taxes.  Of this total, local taxes accounted for 55% or $61 billion.  Local tax revenues come mainly from the property tax and sales tax, which account for $34 billion and $10 billion, respectively.  Taxes are important to development for two reasons.  First, the tax burden on low and middle class families affects local citizen’s standard of life, access to affordable …

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Buffalo Niagara Convention & Visitors Bureau

Irene Pijuan — Nov 16, 2008

The CVB is currently drafting a five-year strategic plan that will guide its sales and marketing efforts on behalf of the local tourism industry.  The plan, when complete, will serve to refine the CVB’s mission as a destination marketing organization and the official tourism promotion agency for Erie County.  Focus groups have been conducted with a variety of partner organizations representing the hotel, restaurant, retail, attraction, sports, cultural and philanthropic …

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Community Development Block Grants and Buffalo

Amy Kaslovsky — Nov 16, 2008

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is a federal program run by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  CDBG grants are provided to state and local governments for the purpose of addressing community needs such as affordable housing, job creation, and retention and expansion of business activity.  Grants are available for projects lasting from one to three years.  Seventy percent of the funding must be used for the benefit of low and …

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The Broadway Market Management Corporation

Rachel Jones — Nov 16, 2008

Until very recently, the Broadway Market was run by the Broadway Market Management Corporation, under Executive Director, Richard Fronczak.  James Malczewski, Helen Wylubski, Peter Cammarata, Otis Cowart, and Joseph Petruso were members of the board.  Some of the members were appointed directly by the mayor.  Other members included the city comptroller, the Fillmore District member of the council, the Erie County Legislator representing the area, tenants and the neighborhood …

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The Buffalo Central Terminal and Economic Development

Karen Andolina-Scott — Nov 16, 2008

BCT was completed in 1929 by New York Central Railroad, shortly before the stock market crash leading to the Great Depression.  Between 1929 and 1933 the railroads’ gross operating and net revenues fell; costs dramatically increased while passenger’s disposable incomes decreased.  The railroads were responsible for their own maintenance and capital improvements, while the Federal Government was actively subsidizing auto, bus and air travel.  In addition, taxes paid by …

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The Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency

Karen Andolina-Scott — Nov 16, 2008

BURA was created under New York State’s General Municipal Law Article 15-B §639.  This statute directly states who should compose the board of BURA.  It states that BURA shall be composed of the mayor of the city of Buffalo and eight other members including Buffalo’s president of the common council, chairman of the urban renewal committee of the common council, minority leader of the common council, corporation counsel, commissioner of urban renewal, commissioner of …

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Predatory Business Practices: Automobile Financing

Rachel Jones — Nov 12, 2008

Poverty is an ever-growing problem affecting much of the country.  People fall into financial holes and certain industries make sure that they stay there.  Low-income individuals are targets for businesses that make their money by providing needed benefits now with an exorbitant cost later.  Jacob S. Hacker, a political scientist at Yale, has said that low-income people are forced to live beyond their means by businesses that target them.  According to a series in The …

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Early Childhood Education in Buffalo, New York

Caitlin Connelly — Nov 10, 2008

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines early childhood education as the learning experience of a child from birth to age eight.  It is generally agreed that the human brain undergoes great growth and change in the years before age five.  High-quality early childhood education will include development of a child’s cognition, language, motor, adaptive, social, and emotional skills.

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Brownfield Cleanup and Development in Buffalo, New York

Caitlin Connelly — Nov 8, 2008

Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized properties for which expansion, development, or reuse may be complicated by environmental contamination, such as the presence of a hazardous substance or pollutant.  Examples of brownfields include the former sites of factories, mills, rail yards, gas stations, and dry cleaners.

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Catholic Church Closings

Karen Andolina-Scott — Nov 7, 2008

The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo was established on April 23, 1847.  It serves the following counties in New York State: Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Cattaraugus and Allegany.  The Diocese covers 6,455 square miles and has a Catholic population of 702,884.  In June 2005, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, the bishop of Buffalo, initiated a “parish-based strategic plan and spiritual revitalization initiative” called “Journey in Faith and …

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Richardson Center Corporation

Gary Phillips — Nov 7, 2008

The mission of the RCC is to rehabilitate the Richardson Olmsted Complex, which is located in the City of Buffalo. Generally, the RCC ―envision[s] the rehabilitation of the National Historic Landmark H. H. Richardson Complex (the former Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane), comprised of the H. H. Richardson-designed buildings and Frederick Law Olmsted-designed grounds, to be the crowning jewel of a mixed-use, multi-purpose civic campus of public and private activities.‖ Additionally, the …

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Historic Preservation

Rachel Jones — Nov 6, 2008

Historic preservation is the physical rehabilitation of historical buildings and neighborhoods.  The United States began its campaign for preservation in the 1960s.  Historic preservation has been a concern for the United States for a long time.  In 1966, the federal government established the “National Historic Preservation Act”.  The purpose of the act was to insure that the cultural and historical foundations of the country were preserved in the face of …

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Professional Sports Subsidies

Irene Pijuan — Oct 24, 2008

The subsidies to franchise owners take two forms—tax breaks and the availability of arenas at a very low cost.  Public subsidies take the form of new stadiums and arenas provided by local authorities and financed by taxpayers or by issuing state bonds.  The subsidy starts with the federal government, which allows state and local governments to issue tax-exempt bonds to help finance sports facilities.  Tax exemption lowers the interest on debt and so reduces the amount that …

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NYSERDA: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Jenna Piasecki — Oct 3, 2008

There are four regional offices located in Albany, New York City, Buffalo, and West Valley.  The major staff is broken into three subgroups.  Energy Analysis has 21 staff members, most with the title of project manager.  Energy Efficiency Services has 34 staff members at the main office, 5 in New York City, and 1 in Buffalo.  The Residential Efficiency and Affordability Program staffs 29 employees at the main office, 4 in New York City, and 2 in Buffalo.  The Research …

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The New York Power Authority

Chris Berardi — Oct 3, 2008

The Power Authority gives subsidies in the forms of discounted power to municipalities, industrial customers, and through various means to residential customers.  Until recently, power leftover after sales to industrial customers went to National Grid, a private entity, which then passed on some of the savings to residential customers.  Now the Power Authority keeps that leftover power that they can sell at normal rates elsewhere.

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Erie County Office of Economic Development

Louise Calixte — Oct 2, 2008

The OED has constant challenges in getting enough financial resources.  Since there is no specific budget allocation, the OED must compete with other priorities of the Department of Planning and Economic Development.  Another challenge that the OED faces is complicated ownership issues, specifically with brownfields.  In order to remediate the sites, legal ownership issues have to be resolved.  At times, this process is arduous and time consuming.

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Easy Ways to Lower your Utility Bills

Sam Magavern Aug 7, 2008

The average home in Buffalo can expect energy bills of $2,267 per year.  An energy-efficient home in Buffalo will have much lower bills – only $1,451 per year.  That is a savings of $816.  Here are some simple steps you can take to start saving money on your energy bills.

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Buffalo's Tourism

Robert Goodwin — Dec 31, 2007

Erie County created the Office of Arts, Culture and Tourism (ACT) in 2001, which operates within the Erie County Planning division.  The purpose of this group is to oversee the distribution of an approximate $9 million annual investment among Erie County’s cultural tourist attractions.  This money is dispersed under two grants.  One of these grants, the Public Benefit funding, awards money to not-for-profits that focus on the region’s economic development and engage …

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