|Date:||June 17, 2022|
By Nina Raj|
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
For this summary, we will focus on the Regular Meeting. The Regular Meeting is the Common Council's primary meeting, where they make official decisions on issues.
During the Regular Meeting, students from Buffalo Public Schools joined the Council to learn more about the workings of government as part of the next generation that will lead the City of Buffalo. Council Member Bollman recognized each student with certificates before the session began.
The Council sent an audit of the Buffalo Police Department (BPD)—published this month—to the Finance Committee for further discussion. The audit found that BPD didn't use 87% of its wireless devices, despite costing $10,000 each year. Common Council referred to the Legislation Committee a reapportionment plan for redrawing districts in response to demographic shifts in the City of Buffalo.
Council Member Wyatt took the floor to convey his support for the University District Block Club Coalition's petition to stop an opioid treatment center installation in Cleve-Hill Plaza. The proposed center would bus people dealing with substance use disorder from the Seneca Nation into the proposed location in the City of Buffalo for treatment. Wyatt stressed the intended plan did not include input from residents in the neighborhood and that many are in opposition. "We have enough issues in the University District, especially in this plaza. We don't need to add to it," said Council Member Wyatt. Council sent the petition to the Legislation Committee for discussion.
Common Council denied a request from the Buffalo Preservation Board to designate the Cutting Family Cottage (1274 West Avenue) as a local landmark. Although the property owner withdrew his application for a demolition permit, pledged to rehabilitate the property in its original design, and maintained its historical features, Council Member Rivera feels there is no reason to impose a landmark status on the property. Furthermore, the Preservation Board did not notify the owner of its application to designate the property a landmark, which Council Member Rivera felt was "problematic."
The Council adopted a resolution for the Department of Human Resources to create and conduct active shooter training for all departments and security in city-owned buildings. This is in response to the Tops shooting on May 14. Council members observed a moment of silence during which a bell rung ten times to honor the lives lost.
Common Council sent the Legislation Committee revised Peddling and Soliciting Ordinance Amendment that accounts for mobile businesses. Council President Pridgen explained that at this time, the only mobile vehicles that require licenses are food trucks, even though many other types of mobile companies started during the pandemic. The amendment would require all mobile businesses to have licenses, meaning that vehicles selling certain merchandise cannot park outside stores that specialize in that same kind of merchandise.
Council Member Wingo expressed disappointment at seeing businesses take advantage of East Buffalo in the wake of the tragedy, saying, "It hurts that it takes ten people to lose their lives for our community to get needed services." He hopes the Peddling and Soliciting Ordinance Amendment will help limit the number of businesses intending to exploit the East Side. Council President Pridgen seconded this sentiment and referred to Chase Bank's donation of an ATM next to an East Buffalo library as an example of this exploitation. He reminded Common Council that Chase never opened a branch on the East Side and has been accused of historically not providing loans to African American people. Pridgen spoke to his anger at the hypocrisy of Chase to then place an ATM in front of a library designed by an African-American architect designed in an African-American community, calling it "a slap in the face."
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