State of the City Address

Posted by MJ

ELockport has the full copy of Mayor Tucker's 2012 State of the City Address in PDF form and both the Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on it.

The good news:

  1. The city is in a relatively good financial state with a high bond rating.
  2. The new privatized garbage and refuse system is saving money and working well
  3. Tourism is up.
  4. Online bill payment coming soon
The bad news:
  1. All 5 union contracts are up and pension and healthcare cost are steeply rising.
  2. Taxes still relatively high
  3. No real residential or overall income growth.
  4. Housing stock becoming more and more outdated every passing year.
  5. Parks and Highway still starved to provide sufficient infrastructure maintenance
This could be expanded and feel free to add your thoughts. There is no doubt in my mind that the city is much better of than it was when I purchased here 7 years ago (so is our house ;). So much so that I am even a bit surprised. Still lacking is the overall vision, plan, and tools to create real growth in the city especially in residential investment.

As nice as the Tourism Task Force is, more important would be a Residential Investment Task Force. Residential dollars are here year round, they create semi-permanent investment in rehabilitating housing stock which increases the overall valuation of the city. Their investment also makes the city look better to the eyes of the tourist.

The city has done a great job putting out the budgetary fires. This can only last so long and will only be made more fire-proof by attracting long term investment in the city.


Anonymous said...

There was debate at election time when Richelle was bragging about the decreased tax rate and I made fun of it, that though the tax rate was decreased the total taxes collected were still increaed 10% - the rate was down only becasue of the re-assessment. Now Tucker points it out in his speech as a good thing! Raising taxes 10% is not good!!

MJ said...

I believe each side picks the statistic they want. If the budget goes down but the rate goes up, complain about the rate. If the rate goes down but the budget goes up complain about the budget. The reverse goes for the politicians and their promotions.

The fact is that there is a dollar amount to pay to operate the city. After grants, sales taxes, bed receipts, etc the remainder will be paid by assessment based property taxes.

There have been years and years of cuts. A lot of services suffer. At some point there must be income growth (residential and business investment leading to more/higher assessed property) to pay the bills. With health care and pension costs raising 10% and up each year we are fooling ourselves that cuts are going to offset those for very long.

Pension funding is handed down by the state. Hard to change anything there. Health care is one spot to bargain. The second it moving as many employees and services off of the city payroll. Long gone are the times where overall costs for municipal labor were below those for private services.

I recall reading somewhere that certain pension laws were in the state constitution and thus very hard to change. The older and larger a municipality with large legacy obligations will be forever crippled both financially and competitively until things are changed. "Newer" municipalities now know to avoid civil employees at all costs and try to keep services privatized.

The older cities etc will forever suffer as people/business are free to move to the new cheaper places while the old ones are forever saddled with the old "debt".

Anonymous said...

Ι need to get it done becаuse I won't have the opportunity to get it done other wise!

My website; wiki.gokien.org

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