Buffalo Place is a rarity in the city: a special taxing district. It has the authority to levy a special fee on property owners within its borders to support its activities. Buffalo Place maintains the stretch of Main Street from the First Niagara Center to Goodell Street, and installs benches, flowers and banners in its borders. But its most high-profile feat is hosting the summer concert series, that moved from Lafayette Square to the Erie Canal Harbor venue last year.
That move has taken the concerts to a whole new level. With more space, the crowds are bigger and the events are more expensive. Long funded with proceeds from beer and food sales, some of the concerts now require $10 tickets. That apparently is not covering the costs, so the district raised its special levy on property owners 3 percent this week.
But there is a rub. Some property owners in the district say they are providing a service for businesses well outside their boundaries, and they want to expand the Buffalo Place footprint to increase the organization's tax base.
It's an early complaint voiced by some Buffalo Place board members this week, but you can bet it is going to get louder. With the concert series growing every year, this is bound to become a more complicated issue. If and when the concerts move to the Outer Harbor, Buffalo Place board members are wondering if it will still be their task to handle the events.
Stay tuned, and rock on.
- Grove Potter