Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of May 2, 2022

Buffalo Common Council Summary: Week of May 2, 2022

Date: May 6, 2022

By Becca Bass|

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 Common Council summary focuses 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, the Council received Mayor Brown's proposed city budget and sent the four-year financial plan to the Committee of the Whole for review and discussion. Common Council created “A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding the City Budget” to help give more transparent information on how the city budgeting process works.

City budget hearings will begin on Monday, May 9 at 9 a.m. in the Buffalo Common Council Chambers. The public hearing on the budget will take place on Tuesday, May 10 at 5 p.m. in Council Chambers, with a livestream on Facebook. Budget workshops will begin on Monday, May 16 at 9 a.m. in the Council Conference Room 1417.

Common Council approved the Winn Pilot, an initiative to rehabilitate 135 affordable apartments in the Whitney Neighborhood Apartments on the Lower West Side. All units will be for households that earn 80% area median income (AMI) or less, with percentages of units set aside for households under 50% and 60% of AMI.

Common Council sent an item to the Legislation Committee that would direct the City's Law Department to draft an ordinance amendment requiring a special use permit to sell and distribute marijuana. This item is specifically in response to the fact that several stores "gift" marijuana in exchange for purchasing other goods, which is a "gray area" of the law. Anyone interested in selling marijuana should contact NYS representatives, as Common Council members have not been briefed on the new parameters of that licensure.

Council Member Joel Feroleto presented a proclamation honoring Stitch Buffalo for their work supporting refugee women's economic empowerment. Stitch Buffalo's Executive Director shared that the organization outgrew its current space and is looking for larger spaces (ideally 5,500 sqft).

Common Council accepted funds from Erie County to support improvements to the Hertel Streetscape, Shoshone Park, JH Williams Park, and Riverside Park. Council members extended special thanks to Chair April Baskin, Legislator Lisa Chimera, and County Executive Poloncarz for advocating for investments in the City of Buffalo.

Common Council received and filed reports from the now-dissolved Police Advisory Board. This includes "Mental Health Issues and the Police," "White Supremacy in Police Departments," "Reports to the Council Regarding Community-Police Relations," and "Police Advisory Board Reform Recommendations."

The Council sent Moody's Credit Opinion for the City of Buffalo and the City's Cash Flow Report for March 2022 to the Finance Committee for review and discussion.

Common Council sent two items on behalf of the police department to the Civil Service Committee for review. The first is a contract with I/O Solutions, Inc. to administer police promotion examinations over the next four years—not to exceed approximately $2.5 million during that time frame. The second item sent to the Civil Service Committee for review is a contract with WNY Polygraph Services to provide polygraph tests to new hires at $250 each, no more than $350,000 annually.

In addition to these highlights, the Common Council conducted its usual business of approving and sending to committee reports of sale, licenses, job appointments, special use permits, and fee waivers.

Finally, there were announcements about district events:

University District:

  • Thursday, May 5, from 5:30–7:30 p.m.: There will be a community meeting regarding the placement of the Hopewell Opioid Treatment Program in the Cleve Hill Plaza. The meeting will take place at Cleve Hill UMC at 546 Eggert Road
  • Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m.-noon: A University District community meeting will take place at Gerard Place on 2515 Bailey Avenue

Masten District:

  • Saturday, May 14, from 9 a.m.-noon: There will be a Masten stakeholders meeting at the Delevan Grider Community Center on 877 East Delevan Avenue

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