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Control board OKs city, school budgets

The Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority on Tuesday unanimously approved the 2010-11 budgets for the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Public Schools.

Members of the control board acknowledged the financial challenges facing both the city and the schools, including retiree health costs and the uncertainty surrounding state aid, which heavily funds both institutions.

The control board noted that the city has reduced its tax rate for homeowners about 6 percent in the past seven years, and 10 percent for other property owners.

Mayor Byron W. Brown said the tax rate decreases have spawned other benefits for Buffalo, as well.

"It has contributed to more interest in investment in the City of Buffalo, which has helped us increase our assessment," he said.

Control board members lauded the school system's efforts to continue to operate effectively despite a number of financial challenges, including the uncertainty of state aid.

"We have a very well-administered district operating heroically under enormous financial challenges, but at the same time having a fiscal future that is, to say the least, daunting," Chairman Nils Olsen said.

The system's structural deficit will continue to grow, he said, prompting the need for long-term solutions.

"It's clearly a very difficult situation," Olsen said.

The control board also approved a new contract for summer foodservice workers in the school system to bring them up to a living wage. The contract includes a 3 percent pay raise this summer and a 2 percent raise next year, for a total cost of $15,700 for the two years.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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