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Mayor Brown Delivers 2009 State Of The City Address
Contact: Peter K. Cutler
Mayor Byron W. Brown yesterday delivered his 2009 State of the City address, saying the city of Buffalo is: Safer, Stronger and Smarter.
“Despite the current crisis that has affected every sector of our society, the City of Buffalo is Safer, Stronger and Smarter,” said Mayor Brown during the speech. “I am confident we’re moving in the right direction – despite the statewide and national challenges we all face - and I believe Buffalo is in a good position to withstand this current crisis and is ready for further investment and development.”
The Mayor noted that, Buffalo has reported double-digit surplus, with a record-breaking fund balance now totaling $133 million, including the creation a $30.2 million “rainy day” fund.
Mayor Brown underscored his Administration’s three guiding principles: improving residents’ quality of life; strengthening Buffalo’s economy and overall fiscal health; and ensuring greater efficiency and accountability in the delivery of city services.
Over the past three years, Buffalo has seen a reduced crime rate, lowered property taxes, the elimination of waste, record budget surpluses, the successful negotiation of several union contracts, the implementation of a living wage for all city employees and the resolution of the long-standing Hickory Woods controversy.
Improving city residents’ quality of life and lowering crime, Mayor Brown’s Administration’s Zero Tolerance anti-crime effort has accounted for the reduction of overall crime by 12% since 2005, and a 50% decrease in homicides from 2006 through 2008.
In addition, Mayor Brown’s No Questions Asked Gun Buybacks and the excellent police work of the Buffalo Police Department have helped remove 4,456 illegal guns from city streets in just three years. Along with that, arson arrests have increased by 100% since 2005, with 128 arrests occurring in 2008, while arson fires have declined in Buffalo by 24% since 2005.
Development throughout the city has been a major priority of the Brown Administration, with current projects including investing over $6.5 million in the revitalization of the Jefferson Avenue Commercial District, improving the Seneca Street Business District through a $1.3 million infrastructure improvement effort, and a similar $7.3 million infrastructure improvement project on South Park Avenue.
“There can be no question that landscape of the city is changing -- and for the better,” said Mayor Brown.
Positive change continues to occur in the city with an estimated $4.3 billion in investment throughout Buffalo, including exciting projects like Uniland’s $78 million Avant development, the $380 million Canal Side redevelopment project and the opening of the $33 million Burchfield-Penney Art Center.
Mayor Brown articulated his vision for Buffalo, including a recent collaboration with Erie County Executive Chris Collins to increase investment and job growth throughout the region.
“We presented to President Obama’s Administration a comprehensive list of ready-to-go infrastructure projects for Buffalo and Erie County to be funded through the federal stimulus package,” said Mayor Brown. “I recognize that the likelihood of gaining 100% funding of such a request is not likely, but the list, especially done in close collaboration with our partners in county government should send a clear signal that we are focused, well prepared and ready to do what is necessary to help grow Buffalo and our region.”
To take full advantage of these developments, Mayor Brown revealed a $500,000 commitment for a “Mayor’s Next-Generation Scientists” program, which will train and provide career pathways for 250 Buffalo high school and college students for emerging employment opportunities.
Mayor Brown concluded his speech by proclaiming that, despite significant obstacles and nation economic problems, the City of Buffalo is in a better position than it has been in decades for attracting investment and realigning the local economy to succeed and prosper. He encouraged attendees of his annual address to work together with his Administration to continue that progress.
“As we leave here today, let us all move forward, together…and commit ourselves to the work that is left undone in taking the City of Buffalo to place we all want it to be: stronger, safer and smarter,” said Mayor Brown. “Using all of the tools we have available, leaving no stone unturned and working together, united in our purpose for prosperity, both individually and collectively, the best days of Buffalo are still before us, but they are closer and more attainable than ever.”
© 2001-2011 City of Buffalo
Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios