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Today in City Hall: Settlements, occupancy tax

By Jill Terreri

The Common Council meets today at 2 p.m., and will approve settlements with the families of two fallen firefighters, and with a man shot by a police officer, though the officer was cleared by a grand jury of any wrongdoing.

There are other settlements on the agenda, which total $4,279,366, but the bulk, $4.1 million, will be transferred to the families of the firefighters. 

Also on the Council's agenda is a sunset to the city's despised occupancy tax - long repealed but lingering until today. An amendment to the local law is set to go to the Legislation Committee on April 9 for discussion.

The Council will also consider an amendment to the city's agreement with the county having to do with the detention of inmates.

The Council will also approve a designated developer agreement that will allow a Dollar General store to be built at 663 E. Ferry St., and a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with PUSH Buffalo, which is building and rehabilitating homes on the West Side. The agreement covers homes at 335-339 Massachusetts Ave., 62 W. Utica St. and 99 Chenango St.

An agenda is posted below.

In other business, the city's new credit ratings, released Monday, are much like their old ratings, and will allow the city to refinance old debt at a lower interest rate, with anticipated savings of $10.3 million. UPDATE: These ratings refer to an anticipated refinancing of debt related to construction of the First Niagara Center, which is expected to save $500,000. An additional $9.8 million will be saved through refinancing of debt related to school reconstruction, but these ratings don't apply to that deal, according to comptroller spokesman Patrick Curry. 

Standard & Poors gave the city an "A" rating, with a "stable" outlook, and said the city's fiscal management practices are "strong."   

Fitch affirmed its "A+" rating and generally said the city was in a good financial position, but warned the city against using its reserves for ongoing expenses. 

"The ability of the city to meet its goals of reducing its reliance upon budgeted reserves and restore structural budgetary balance will be important credit considerations," Fitch analysts wrote. 

Moody's gave the city an A1 rating with a "stable" outlook, and analysts said the rating reflects the city's "overall solid reserves and liquidity despite current declines and structurally imbalanced budgets in the multiyear plan." 


Buffalo, NY Common Council Agenda 4.2.13


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