Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown defends proposed 9% tax increase

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Mayor Byron Brown defended his proposed 9% tax levy increase in the City of Buffalo during News 4 WIVB’s monthly Ask the Mayor segment Thursday, saying that the hike is necessary due to rising costs.

“If we don’t want to go backwards as a community, we have to pay for (city) services,” Brown said. “Inflation is hitting hard, hitting hard now. Governments all across our region, all across the country are feeling it, like businesses are.”

Brown referenced employee wages, healthcare costs, retiree pensions and snowstorm response as just some of the services and programs that require more funding in Buffalo. He said that the tax increase would raise $14.3 million for the city.

The proposed $576.9 million budget, which Brown detailed during his State of the City address on Wednesday, now has to be approved by the Buffalo Common Council — and there has already been some criticism of the budget among members.

Councilmember Mitch Nowakowski said Wednesday that the budget will need to be amended, while fellow Councilmember Zeneta Everhart said a tax increase needs to happen, but not a 9% one.

“I have tried to propose increases before — when I have, the council has reduced those increases,” Brown said. “When the proposals that we make are reduced, then we don’t have the resources that we need. … We want to be able to protect the services we have, expanded the services that we have, continue the growth of our city.”

Within the proposed increase, the tax bill for a home assessed at $100,000 will go up by $78 annually, which equates to a little over $6.50 per month.

You can view Thursday’s full Ask the Mayor segment above.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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