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City Hallways (May 3) Throwback Tuesday

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Changing Times

What a difference two decades make.

I was doing some attic cleaning the other day and came across an article I wrote 22 years ago on  the  1994-1995 budget proposed  by then- Mayor Anthony Masiello.  It was Masiello's first budget as mayor. He called it a share-the-pain budget that would cut 211 jobs and hike taxes 5.1 percent.

I was struck by how different  things are  now.  Brown's latest budget freezes taxes for  the fifth  year in  a row.  No job cuts. In fact, I heard it includes a new hire in the city real estate office to handle the increased demand to purchase vacant city property. No major reforms, but plenty of spending on new initiatives.

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Speaking of the Brown  Budget

Comptroller Mark Schroeder's top assistant, Patrick Curry, was in Council chambers Monday talking about  the Brown budget. While  Schroeder hasn't finished his review of the mayor's budget plan, he's glad to see borrowing costs are  down, as is the mayor's reliance on reserve funds to balance the budget.

Debt service  -  money going toward repayment of interest and principal on borrowing - is down $3  million from the current budget year,  Curry said.
That's a reflection, Curry said,  of more prudent borrowing by the city as well as refinancing of  debt by the comptroller's office.

Reliance on fund balance  is  down $4.4 million.
"Any fund balance (used to balance the  budget) is less than  optimal," Curry said. "It's  good to see the city seems  to be weaning itself off" such reliance.

More budget talk
Also at the Council session, I heard  that the city hired 109 firefighters this fiscal year, but with continued retirements, the city may need to hire another 40 or 50 more firefighters in the upcoming fiscal year.

Election  Day
It's School Board Election Day. Here's a story on the race.
It's Indiana primary election day.

Calendar Items
Common  Council  committee meetings today, starting with Civil Service  and Finance in the  morning, followed  by Community Development  and Legislation in the afternoon.

Also in today's Buffalo News and  buffalonews.com, here's a story by my colleague Jonathan Epstein from Monday's planning  board meeting.

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