Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of February 15, 2021

Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of February 15, 2021

Date: February 19, 2021

By Orlando Dickson |

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.

Welcome to our weekly Buffalo Common Council update! Here, we summarize the most interesting information from the critical Buffalo Common Council meetings. We will also include information from meetings related to our Community Agenda items. This week, the Common Council held two sessions: A Caucus Meeting and a Regular Meeting. A Caucus Meeting and a Regular Meeting. A Caucus Meeting is where members from a specific political party – in Buffalo's case, the Democratic Party – meet, but official voting on issues does not occur. A Regular Meeting is the Common Council's primary meeting, where the body makes official decisions on issues.

During the Caucus Meeting, Common Council requested the Department of Public Works (DPW) consider a program for residents to drop off electronic waste at a secondary location outside of downtown to combat illegal dumping, which adds to city blight. The Council stated it would not currently support a ban on "single-use" plastic containers, because the body does not want to increase costs for businesses during COVID, but will consider doing so in the future.

The Erie County Clerk sent a letter to the New York State DMV Commissioner – with a cc to the Common Council – asking that the Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner refuse to suspend drivers’ registrations for violations issued under the School Zone Speed Camera Demonstration Program.

During the Regular Meeting, Common Council submitted an inquiry into Buffalo Police Department (BPD) interaction with bail enforcement agencies, aka “Bounty Hunters.” The Council is simply citing "recent events" as the reason it is raising questions about the City of Buffalo's policies regarding bail enforcement agents. The Council requested a spokesperson for BPD appear to speak about any policy regarding assisting with bail enforcement agents and that Corporation Counsel provide an update to Common Council on the city, state, and federal laws that impact bail enforcement agents

The Common Council approved a resolution that recommends all senior housing facilities in the City of Buffalo create, implement, and enforce drug trafficking policies. Though the Council did not discuss a due date, it did ask to receive a copy of the policy once created.

This week was a rare, slow week for the Common Council. However, next week is shaping up to be quite intense as the Education Committee will have its quarterly meeting, along with the four other committee meetings during the week. Here are some critical items on the table that we hope to see the Common Council discuss during the Legislation and Community Development Committees:

  • The "Right-to-Know" law requiring police officers to provide identifying information
  • The repeal of the "Open Container Law," which prohibits carrying open containers of alcohol in public
  • The ban on "no-knock warrants," which allow police to raid a home without warning occupants
  • Increasing inclusionary zoning – meaning tapping economic gains from rising real estate values to create affordable housing
  • A report on how the Common Council addressed School Zone Traffic Camera Concerns

There are many more items we would love to see the Common Council discuss as well, but we can't list them all. Come back next week to find out what happens!

Need more than just a summary? Contact us at info@ppgbuffalo.org, or find full meeting information and schedules here: http://buffalony.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx