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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Also on the Council's agenda is a sunset to the city's despised occupancy tax - long repealed but lingering until today.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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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |