Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of July 5, 2021

Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of July 5, 2021

Date: July 12, 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.

This week, the Common Council held two meetings. For this summary, we will focus on both the Caucus Meeting and the 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. The Regular Meeting is the Common Council's primary meeting, where they make official decisions on issues.

During this week's Caucus Meeting, the Common Council stated its intention to approve the appointment of Daryl Springer as Commissioner of Management Information Systems. The Council also heard a presentation from the Office of Strategic Planning and the Commissioner of Permits and Inspections on an annual action plan amendment. The short presentation explained the amendment's focus on committing $250,000 of additional funding to the demolition of 308 Crowley, which will cost a total of $1.1 million. The annual action plan is a document mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that outlines local affordable housing and community development needs, identifying strategies for addressing them.

The Buffalo Police Department (BPD) signified its intention to purchase new vehicles. The Finance Committee will discuss the details during the next committee meeting.

The Office of Administration, Finance, Policy & Urban Affairs requested the Council approve a $550,000 disbursement from future American Rescue Plan funding coming to Buffalo. The $550,000 will expand Mayor Brown's Summer Youth Internship Program. Additionally, the Department of Community Services agreed with the Workforce Corporation of Buffalo and Erie County to work together on the program.

The Common Council expressed concern about a lack of communication between the mayor's administration and the Council. The body has to approve the mayor's $13 million water amnesty program. Councilmember Wyatt stated even though he was at the press conference, he had no idea about Mayor Brown's plan to use American Rescue Plan funding for the program. He has questions about the program and its legal requirements.

During the Regular Meeting, Common Council named June 17 as Health Professions Hub and Nik Wallenda Day. Nik, a professional tight rope walker and acrobat, famously walked on a wire across Niagara Falls on June 15, 2012. On June 17, 2021, Nik walked on a 320-foot tightrope wire less than an inch wide from the top of the Montante Library building to the top of D'Youville's new $27 million Health Professions Hub building. The stunt drew attention to the Health Professions Hub, providing specialized medical services to individuals and families from surrounding neighborhoods underserved by the health care industry. 

The City of Buffalo approved receiving a $337,076 state grant filtered down from the Department of Homeland Security for BPD. The grant funding will cover wireless dispatch technology, crisis incident response kits, cameras around the Buffalo River and the arena, cybersecurity measures, and expansion of the City's crisis management initiative. 

The Common Council officially approved the 2021 Annual Action Plan. 

Common Council stated its intention to discuss the final revisions to the Right to Know Law at the next legislation meeting. The "Right-to-Know" Law requires police to provide reasons for their encounters with residents and a written record of interactions with officers in situations that do not result in arrest summons.

The Council committed via resolution to request that no additional American Rescue Plan funds are allocated or approved for spending without prior Common Council adoption of a written public spending plan. Common Council also requested the opportunity to meet with citizens for commentary before any approval or allocation. Residents can give their input on the spending of the American Rescue plan here: https://www.buffalony.gov/1390/Buffalo-Transformation-Fund

Councilmember Wyatt drafted a request for the Department of Public Works to submit to the Council a written policy for cleaning and maintaining vacant city lots. Additionally, he would like the department to provide data regarding the timeliness of responses to 311 complaints of overgrown and littered lots by September 1, 2021. 

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