Share this article

print logo


The city expects substantial savings in its contribution to the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority's current budget as the result of measures taken last August by Executive Director Sharon M. West.

Overall, the authority has saved about $500,000 in operating costs since August, according to Cheryl MacMillan, the authority's director of administration and finance.

But she declined to project the total savings through June 30.

The authority, which has an annual operating budget of $24 million, receives funds from a variety of government sources, including grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the state and the city.

The state provides $1.3 million to cover operating expenses and any bonded indebtedness from capital costs incurred at the authority's state-funded housing projects.

But that sometimes is not enough, and the city must pick up any deficit that the authority incurs from operation of the state funded housing projects.

Cost-saving measures include limiting overtime to emergencies, tightening controls over inventory levels by storing goods at vendor sites to reduce losses and adopting a system of centralized purchasing.

Ms. West said in-house operation of the authority's Midnight Basketball program will yield additional savings.

The authority had used a $400,000 state grant to to contract with the city's Housing Resources Department to run the program.

The authority will now operate the program and use the funds to reduce its deficit.

That, in turn, will reduce the amount of the city's contribution toward the authority's operating expenditures, Ms. West explained.

"I felt that it was responsible for us to try to assist the city in whatever way we could to help alleviate their fiscal problems," she said. "And one day, maybe, the city won't have to fund us at all. That would be the ideal situation."

Another goal will be shifting funding for state-subsidized housing complexes -- Ferry Grider Homes and Frederick Douglass Towers -- to HUD, West said.

That would relieve the city of responsibility for funding any deficits incurred by the two complexes.

This morning, meanwhile, the authority's board of commissioners approved submitting the 1996-97 budget for federal funds to HUD.

The board tabled plans to hire a program administrator for the authority's contractor's apprenticeship program.

There are no comments - be the first to comment