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Press Releases > Mayor Brown Delivers Tenth State Of The City Address

Mayor Brown Delivers Tenth State Of The City Address

Mayor Brown announces selection of Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation as the developer for 201 Ellicott Street which will feature a Tops Markets
No raise in the residential or commercial property tax rates
Historic carousel lands a new home at Canalside
The late Ralph Wilson posthumously awarded the Key to the City; Mary Wilson accepts the Key to the City in his memory


February 5, 2016 – Declaring the State of the City strong, Mayor Byron W. Brown today delivered his Tenth “State of the City” Address at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.  With record level attendance and support, Mayor Brown, joined by business, civic and community leaders, highlighted the undeniable decade of growth, development and progress in the City of Buffalo, and outlined his plan to reclaim Buffalo’s place among the great cities of the United States.

“Buffalo’s transformation is undeniable,” said Mayor Brown.  “We are in a strong position to continue the momentum and make sure our prosperity reaches each and every city resident. Our progress has been the result of years of hard work by people in and out of government who believe, as I do, that as we continue to grow Buffalo’s economy, create jobs, encourage development and create opportunity for all of our residents and business owners, we will draw worldwide attention back to the treasures that abound across our City of good neighbors.”


During his “State of the City”, Mayor Brown highlighted the progress made in the City of Buffalo over the last ten years.   When he first came into office, the city confronted many challenges created over decades.

  • Commercial growth was stagnant.
  • Taxes were high, Buffalo’s credit rating was low.
  • Buffalo was under the authority of a Hard Control Board, with a freeze on employee wages.

Since 2006, Mayor Brown has adhered to core principles to drive Buffalo’s progress, including the implementation of strategic plans to stabilize and grow the city’s economy; to stimulate jobs and development; to build a safer, smarter, stronger Buffalo; to continue to improve the quality of life for all residents; to encourage and incentivize investment; and to invest in infrastructure and efficiently deliver services.


Today:

  • Investment in the city is higher than it’s been in decades.
  • There’s over $5.5 billion in economic development activity underway since 2012, which is creating over 12,000 new jobs.
  • Residential property tax rates have been reduced by nearly 16 percent, while the commercial property tax rate has been cut by almost 32 percent.
  • Delivered ten consecutive, on-time, balanced budgets and lifted the wage freeze.
  • Established a multi-million-dollar ‘Rainy Day’ Fund; implemented dozens of efficiency measures.
  • Worked within the confines established by the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, to the point where they are now serving in an advisory capacity.
  • Buffalo’s credit rating is now its highest in history.
  • Led in the transformation of a city-owned parking lot into the $200 million dollar HarborCenter development
  • Overall crime continues to decline. Since 2005, overall crime in Buffalo is down over 32 percent.
  • Canalside continues to develop at an impressive pace, setting another attendance record last summer of over 1 million visitors.
  • Reopened the third major block of downtown Main Street to vehicle traffic, helping to stimulate over $500 million private investment along the Main Street corridor.
  • Invested over $530 million in infrastructure projects, allocated over $100 million to demolish more than 5,700 blighted properties, and by the end of 2017, over $51 million in citywide park improvements will have been completed.
  • Committed over $1.3 million to Say Yes Buffalo, which helped drive last year’s graduation rate in city schools to its highest level in years.

A memorable moment of Mayor Brown’s State of the City Address came when he honored the legacy of the Late Ralph Wilson posthumously by presenting his wife, Mary Wilson, with the city’s highest honor, a Key to the City, on his behalf.

“Ralph Wilson was one of our city’s greatest champions,” said Mayor Brown.  “His vision illuminated our landscape. His humanity enriched our community. His integrity exemplified our values. His passion inspired our loyalty. And his generous heart earned our love.  I’m honored to ask Mary Wilson to accept this Key to the City of Buffalo from me on behalf of a very grateful City, in honor of the everlasting contributions of the Wilson Family.”

Highlights of Mayor Brown’s 2016 initiatives include:

Continue to grow the Buffalo Economy, creating jobs and encouraging development

  • Mayor Brown announced the selection of Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation as the developer for a major project that will transform a city property located at 201 Ellicott Street into a mixed-use development that includes housing and retail.
  • Tops Markets will be working with Ciminelli to be located in the Ellicott Street project as downtown’s first supermarket.
  • Mayor Brown promised he will not raise the residential or commercial property tax rates in 2016.
  • After a year of planning on the Northland Corridor Redevelopment Project – a critical step in transforming the Delavan-Grider neighborhood on Buffalo’s East Side –Mayor Brown pledged to provide an additional $4 million to this project.  With these funds, along with $44 million from the Buffalo Billion, we will begin construction this summer.
  • This year, Mayor Brown plans to add funding to create 50 additional Summer Youth Employment and Internship opportunities, bringing his administration’s total commitment to this program to over $10 million since 2006. Over the past ten years, more than 22,000 meaningful job opportunities have been provided to city youth through this program and its partnerships.

Building an even safer, smarter, stronger Buffalo

  • Mayor Brown continues to make public safety a top priority and overall crime continued to drop, down 32 percent since 2005; in 2015, the city saw its ‘lowest number of overall crimes’ in recorded city history.
  • This year, every on-duty Buffalo Police Officer will be equipped with one-of-a-kind, crime-fighting tools and technology on iPads.
  • Mayor Brown announced 53 men and women, chosen among more than 550 “Buffalo Police Department 21st Century” (BPD21C) scholarship initiative applicants, are now on their way to becoming police officers, ambassadors and guardians over the City of Buffalo.  The BPD21C scholarship winners, all city residents, began training last month at the Erie County Central Police Services Law Enforcement Training Academy at the ECC North Campus.  The goal of this initiative is to recruit the next generation of police officers, who reflect and respect the diversity of our City.


Enhanced supports for city youth and new quality of life initiatives

  • In addition, Mayor Brown plans to ask city employees to take their commitment to the future of our children even further. He will recruit city lawyers to volunteer in the Say Yes legal clinics, and will recruit city employees to mentor Say Yes Buffalo Scholars.
  • Mayor Brown announced a plan to provide 150 additional parking spots to the Buffalo Zoo through a partnership between the Zoo and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. 
  • The search for a new home for an historic 1924 carousel is over!  Mayor Brown announced the City is in the process of selling a parcel of land at Canalside to Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation to install the carousel.
  • As Buffalo residents continue to recycle more, Mayor Brown plans to further expand the city’s 34andMore Buffalo Recycles citywide campaign by incorporating a recycling incentive program that will enable residents to earn rewards for using their recycling bins.


Continued infrastructure investments and increased efficiencies in deliver of city services

  • Mayor Brown continued his commitment to add new and innovative solutions to further improve the delivery of city services and cut costs. Today, he announced the City of Buffalo is moving forward on plans for a new Department of Public Works Campus, combining seven existing facilities into one.
  • Mayor Brown committed $300,000 for the purchase of new digital technology to further speed up the permitting process.
  • As Citi Stat Buffalo marks its tenth year, Mayor Brown unveiled CitiStat 2.0 - a ‘new look’ and ‘new logo’ for the city’s televised management tracking initiative.
  • As the city finalizes the transition of adjudication of traffic violations from the state, Mayor Brown announced the nomination of Justice Rose Sconiers as Judicial Hearing Officer of the City’s Traffic Violations Agency.


Bringing opportunity to all city residents

  • The Northland Avenue Corridor Redevelopment Project investment will bring hundreds of new job opportunities by creating “Advanced Manufacturing and Clean Energy Training Centers”, a game-changing development for this community.
  • There will be an increased effort to demolish or find a productive reuse for properties that are abandoned and neglected, starting with one property in each Council District.  The Law Department will take property owners who abandon their properties to court, and will transfer these properties to the City.
  • Mayor Brown named Alphonso O’Neil White and Acea Mosey as the Funding Co-Chairs of the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center on East Utica Street. The center will serve as a hub for minorities and women-owned businesses to get the resources and training they need to thrive.
  • Mayor Brown noted more than 5,000 individuals and 335 Businesses/Organizations, representing over 165,000 people, have signed the Buffalo Opportunity Pledge. The goal of the pledge is to encourage businesses, organizations and residents to demonstrate a commitment to building a culture of inclusion and equity in Buffalo.
  • To continue to grow the Buffalo Opportunity Pledge Agenda forward, Mayor Brown introduced the city’s first Chief Diversity Officer, Crystal J. Rodriguez, Esq.

Continuing efforts to assure non-English speaking residents get the support they need, Buffalo’s new Office of New Americans will serve as a resource to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and other employers and partner with our local court system to improve recruitment and training for qualified court interpreters. This unique partnership, led by Judges Susan Eagan and Lisa Bloch Rodwin, is the first of its kind in the State.

The Office of New Americans just released the New Americans Study, a comprehensive report on best practices, which will serve as a resource to local employers and entities working to make Buffalo a more welcoming city.


 
In an effort to ensure safety for students before and after school, Mayor Brown announced he’ll increase funding to Peacemakers, provide another 500 tablets for graduating Say Yes Scholars, provide financial incentives to 200 Buffalo senior citizen volunteers to tutor students, in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools, Say Yes and Read to Succeed. Mayor Brown will partner with the Buffalo Schools and Say Yes to provide incentives to 200 students and families who demonstrate good attendance or show the greatest improvement in attendance.