|Date:||June 28, 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 Buffalo 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 the week's Caucus Meeting, the Common Council heard a presentation from Anna Falicov from the City of Buffalo Law Department. In 2019, the Council passed an ordinance amendment recalculating the living wage. Before the amendment, there were two rates: one for workers with health benefits and one for workers without health benefits. The Living Wage Commission recommended a single rate reflective of a proper living wage – regardless of health benefits – the Council agreed and passed the amendment. Falicov asked the Common Council to fix a slight oversight in creating the amendment, where the calculation for the living wage did not acknowledge the standard family size of three people.
Falicov also spoke about adding in a clause limiting the City’s liability when it does proactive home inspections and provides certificates of occupancy. Councilmember Wyatt also received a response from the Canadian Prime Minister’s office to his letter supporting the reopening of the Canada-U.S. border. The letter acknowledges the office received the letter and that the comments have been noted and appreciated.
During the uncharacteristically short Regular Meeting, the Council approved Councilman Nowakowski’s lead paint hazard ordinance amendment. The City of Buffalo is no longer liable for claims from the Commissioner of the Department of Permits when it issues a certificate that shows owners have remediated lead-based paint hazards or do not exist as long as the issuance was made in good faith.
The Common Council approved an amphitheater on the outer harbor over the resistance of numerous co-located residents and community organizations. The special use permit expands the current use from vacant open space to allow for a large parking lot structure and an amphitheater for live entertainment. The residents spoke mainly about keeping the area on the outer harbor a green space and a passive space. The Common Council granted the special use permit to the Erie County Harbor Corporation, committing to replacing any trees they remove 3-to-1 and only taking up nine acres of the 200-acre waterfront. PPG recently wrote a letter to members of the Common Council urging them to preserve the outer harbor and refuse the proposed amphitheater that will cost an estimated $10 million to build.
The Council waived fees for the following events:
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