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City Hallways (May 20) City of Lights

Money talk

Budget talk continues today, but the venue changes. Now it's time for the city's "advisory only"  control board, formally called the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority, to get a look at the books.

The control board is going to review the city budget as well as the school district, Municipal Housing Authority and Urban Renewal Agency budgets.

Given the  board is now advisory, it doesn't get a yay or nay vote, but does review the spending plans to make sure they make sense.

City zoning board also meeting today.

That's about it for the meetings.


City of Lights

Here's an "Inside City Hall"  story I thought worth mentioning:

Councilmen Mike LoCurto, Dave Franczyk and Dave Rivera were were outside City Hall Tuesday, holding a press conference with some community advocates to talk about a participatory

budgeting project that just got approved by the mayor and  Common Council.  Suddenly, Council  President Darius Pridgen, ran up the steps of City Hall holding a camera.

Come join us, the group implored him.

"I've just come to get  a picture," Pridgen responded.

Come join us, the group implored him.

Pridgen joined them. He accepted some accolades for his support of participatory budgeting, then offered some accolades to others who worked on getting  the project approved.

Then, he ran into the lobby of City Hall with his camera, and a couple of his staff members.

"I want to get a picture of  the lights," Pridgen said.

I looked up at the high ceiling and suddenly understood what Pridgen was talking about. The  City Hall lobby no longer had that  dark look that it's had for as long as I can remember. There were

new lights. Special  lights. And not the ones in the picture above. Those are in a side hallway. These are in the main lobby, the rotunda area.

When first becoming a council member five years ago, Pridgen said, one of the first resolutions he introduced  called for  the city to brighten up the City Hall lobby with new lights.

There was immediate push-back, he recalled, from  the local arts community, which warned stronger lights would hurt the art works on the walls and ceiling of the City Hall lobby.  So nothing was


Five years later, thanks to new technology,  LED ceiling lights this week were installed that the arts community is satisfied won't hurt the art work, Pridgen said.

The lights definitely make it easier to see things in the City Hall lobby.

In fact, I showed Pridgen something hanging  on the lobby wall that he hadn't spotted before, but I actually  had noticed months ago -- even with the dark lights.


The City Hall directory  still lists Rich Fontana as council president. Fontana,  the Lovejoy councilman, hasn't been president since Pridgen took over in January 2014.

The directory also still lists Bonnie Russell as University District councilmember.  That seat is now held by Rasheed Wyatt, who took over in  January 2014 after Russell stepped down to take a

legal secretary job in Family Court.

Now that the lights are shining, (and now that Pridgen knows about it)  I wouldn't be surprised if that  directory is soon updated too.


In  The Buffalo News
I have two stories in today's paper, one on Rural Metro talking about its recent delay in answering a call, and the other on Participatory Budgeting

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Follow me on Twitter:  @sue_schulman


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