Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of January 2, 2023

Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of January 2, 2023

Date: January 6, 2023

By Sarah Wooton and Tanvier Peart |

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

This week's summary focuses on three meetings. The Finance Committee concerns all matters about the budget and issuance of bonds. The Legislation Committee focuses on local laws, ordinances, and general legislation—except for civil matters. The Community Development Committee focuses on issues about work or improvement using revenue from another government unit.

The Finance and Legislation Committee meetings were short this week. During the Finance Committee, Council Member Bollman noted fellow council members are welcome to attend a meeting on Thursday, January 5, at 10 a.m. to discuss American Rescue Plan ("ARP") funds. The Legislation Committee comprised a series of public hearings for special use permits.

There was a discussion about the snowstorm that occurred during the holiday weekend in the Community Development Committee meeting. Nate Marton, Commissioner of the Department of Public Works ("DPW"), spoke on his team's efforts during the extreme weather event that claimed over 40 lives. He stated his team's support reduced some tragedies and highlighted the effectiveness of their response.

Council Member Golombek reiterated that the priority of the response team during the first few days of the storm was to search and rescue. Council Member Wyatt responded to Golombek and Commissioner Marton's comments by emphasizing the need for preparation and a comprehensive plan asked of the Department of Public Works last year. He continued by stating that this should be more than just a city-level policy but a community-involved plan and later agreed that they couldn't have purchased equipment for the storm with their budget.

The commissioner got a question about how he used different organizations and coordinated with them during the storm. He responded DPW coordinated with state and county resources through daily briefings between the teams on phone calls with fire and police department representatives. Council Member Wyatt saw more contractors out on the road than city plows, to which Marton responded the trucks were stuck, and the visibility was very low, so his team had to stand down for safety as the drifts became larger. This posed difficulty in the snow removal process and slowed down efforts on the city side.

Commissioner Marton revealed the City of Buffalo ("the City") had ordered new equipment with a capital budget, including four plows and two motors arriving in August 2023. There is authorization to use 11 additional pieces of equipment since some of the current inventory is past the 14-year mark and is due for an upgrade. Future efforts from DPW would be to coordinate with schools as emergency centers as they have resources. As the county pays 14% higher than the City of Buffalo to private contractors, the council members asked whether Buffalo can raise the pay for these workers as an incentive. 

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