Buffalo, New York

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Buffalo is the county seat of Erie County, New York. It is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the principal city of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area, the largest in Upstate New York. Downtown Buffalo is located 17 miles (27 km) south of Niagara Falls. Buffalo itself has a population of 261,310 (2010 Census) and the Buffalo–Niagara–Cattaraugus Combined Statistical Area is home to 1,215,826 residents.

Budget

The city's FY 2011-2012 budget contains appropriations and revenues totaling $1,317,429,740, including school district expenditures. The largest portion of appropriations, 66%, is dedicated to the school district. Of the remainder, $356 million is designated for the city, $54 million for debt service, and $34 million for enterprise funds.[1]

Public employees

Elected officials

The city's current mayor is Byron W. Brown. Brown was sworn into office on December 31, 2005 after winning over 60% of the vote. His priorities since coming into office have included a Zero Tolerance Law Enforcement initiative, implementing a management accountability system, and the creation of a Department of Economic Development, Permit and Inspection Services.[2]

The city's legislative branch is the Common Council. It is comprised of nine members representing individual districts, elected to four year terms. Members are:[3]

Name District
Darius G. Pridgen Ellicott District
Richard A. Fontana Lovejoy District
David A. Franczyk Fillmore District
Joseph Golombek, Jr. North District
Michael P. Kearns South District
Michael LoCurto Delaware District
David Rivera Niagara District
Bonnie E. Russell University District
Demone A. Smith Masten District

Administrative officials

A list of administrative departments can be found here.

A 2010 audit report found that the city had paid medical benefits to 152 deceased employees, adding up to nearly $2 million in taxpayer money.[4]

Salaries

Buffalo city salary information is compiled by the Empire Center. According to 2011 data, the highest paid employee in the city is paid $155,945 per year and is an employee of the police and fire departments.[5]

The city also provides a list of employee base pay annually, which can be found here. City data is not sortable by salary or employee name.

Pensions

Lobbying

The city does not provide information on any tax payer funded lobbying.

Transparency & public records

In 2009, Mayor Byron Brown fulfilled a promise made during his inaugural address by adding employee salary information the city's website. That information is updated annually. The most recent listing of salary data can be found here.[6]

Taxes

The city provides information on property tax rates per M valuation, broken up by homestead and non-homestead properties.[7] City property tax payments can be paid online here.

Website evaluation

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Budget Y
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Meetings P
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Elected Officials Y
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Administrative Officials Y
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Permits, zoning Y
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Audits Y
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Contracts P
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Lobbying N
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Public Records P
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Local Taxes Y
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Transparency grading process

The good

  • The current budget, as well as archived budget documents, are available.[8][9]
  • Meeting agendas are posted.[10]
  • The Mayor and Common Council's contact information is posted.[11][12]
  • Administrative contact information is listed for each department.[13]
  • Permits are available electronically and zoning information is posted.[14]
  • Audit reports and Comprehensive Annual Financial reports are posted.[15]
  • Formal bids are posted.[16]
  • A public records request form is available.[17]
  • Local tax information and online payment options are provided.[18]

The bad

  • Meeting minutes and schedules are not posted.
  • Contracts are not posted.
  • The city's Code of Ethics Annual Disclosure Form and Booklet is posted, but information about current lobbying activities is not provided.[19]
  • Public records request information and relevant contact information is not provided.

External links

References