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Buffalo Place keeps special-charge tax flat

Buffalo Place will not raise its special-charge tax on property owners within the downtown business improvement district next year, even as it seeks to extend services within the Main Street-centered zone.

The nonprofit organization on Wednesday approved a new budget for 2018 that will hold revenue from the special charge steady at $1.76 million, out of an overall budget of $2.44 million. That's roughly equal with this year's expenditures and up about 4 percent from this year's budget of $2.33 million.

Officials plan to increase spending on the organization's Ranger program, to provide a more visible presence downtown, especially on weekends. But Buffalo Place is already receiving $88,000 more in revenues this year than it had budgeted because of Canalside fees through its contract with Be Our Guest, and that's expected to continue into next year. It also received a $36,000 grant from the Margaret Wendt Foundation for a new Ranger van.

"We wanted to keep the levy flat as much as possible but raise the bar in what we're providing," said Buffalo Place Chairman Keith Belanger, a senior vice president at M&T Bank Corp.

The organization is also purchasing a new piece of street-cleaning equipment and will boost its marketing spending.

Meanwhile, the 35th anniversary season of the Downtown Country Market, sponsored by M&T, will end Thursday. The second-annual Puppy Parade will be held Saturday, while Small Business Saturday will be Nov. 25.

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