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Veteran assessor tapped to be Buffalo's next tax commissioner

A city assessor is set to become Buffalo's new tax chief.

Martin F. Kennedy, 66, has been chosen by City Hall's top three elected officials to become assessment and taxation commissioner when Bruna Michaux retires July 30. His nomination is expected to sail through the Common Council today.

Kennedy has worked in the assessment office for 17 years and currently supervises the tax exemption office. He is a familiar face in many neighborhoods and has worked with block clubs to conduct outreach efforts aimed at encouraging people to apply for STAR tax exemptions.

In addition to overseeing a staff of 33, the commissioner is sometimes in the middle of the storm during periods when a state-mandated process triggers large increases in the assessed values of properties. The commissioner also oversees Buffalo's property foreclosure program, an activitythat has fueled controversy in some prior years.

Kennedy won the backing of Mayor Byron W. Brown, Comptroller Andrew A. SanFilippo and Common Council President David A. Franczyk for the $74,405 job. The three men make up the Board of Review, which nominates an assessment chief.

Michaux, who is retiring after 43 years of city service, lobbied for Kennedy's appointment.

"I told [city officials] we need someone with integrity, someone who is strong and someone who has a heart," said Michaux.

During an informal meeting Monday, Council members praised the appointment.

Kennedy said he doesn't envision recommending major overhauls.

"Bruna has always run a tight ship and always had the well-being of the people in mind," he said. "If there has ever been a civil servant who was concerned about people, it's Bruna."

Kennedy is a South Buffalo resident. His son is County Legislator Timothy Kennedy, a Buffalo Democrat.


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