Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of October 30, 2023

Date: November 3, 2023

by Caitlin Crowell
Each week, PPG summarizes important takeaways from the major Buffalo Common Council meetings. We also include information from council meetings related to our Community Agenda items. If you want to learn more about how the council meetings work and how you can get involved, check out our guide.

For this summary, we will report on the Caucus and Regular meetings. ‘Council Member’ is abbreviated as CM; ‘Council President’ as CP; and ‘Majority Leader’ as ML.

In the Caucus meeting, ML Rivera asked representatives from the Department of Public Works (DPW) about a sinkhole across from Essex Street Pub. DPW said they would look into it.

CM Nowakowski spoke about his district being “under siege” by short-term (e.g. Airbnb) rentals, including buildings that are being rented without licenses. He is concerned that, in this tight rental market, some regular renters must live in short-term rentals because they can't find long-term housing. ML Rivera said there are many vacancies in the inspections department (despite having the budget for more inspectors), so there are fewer inspectors to ensure compliance with short-term rental registration.

In the Regular meeting, CP Pridgen thanked Roswell Park for having selected an African American architect for their building on Michigan Street.

CM Wyatt said that residents are uncomfortable with the Mayor’s snow plan because many of the emergency centers don’t have the supplies they need. ML Rivera said that the emergency shelters are not accessible to people in many neighborhoods. This will be discussed at committee meetings next week.

The council approved the new names of Freedom Park and Joyce Wilson Nixon Casino.

The council approved of the police department’s request to purchase new weapons and accessories. The new holsters will automatically turn on all nearby body cameras whenever an officer takes out their gun.