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Council Report 040511

Council Report 040511

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Published by: Buffalo Common Council on Apr 06, 2011
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04/06/2011

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1
Common Council of the cityof buffalo
David A. Franczyk,
Council President
 David A. Rivera,
President Pro Tempore
 Richard A. Fontana,
Majority Leader
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: James Pajak, Chief of Staff (716) 851-4047HISTORICAL SOCIETY GETS A NEW STREET NAME-
Jana Eisenberg, Communications Manager for the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Societytestified at a public hearing held during the regular meeting of the Common Council (4/5/2011),as a prerequisite for receiving a change in street name from 25 Nottingham Court to 1 MuseumCourt.
 
2
MEETING SUMMARYfor
APRIL 5, 2011C
REATING A
R
EFERENCE
C
ONCERNING
A
PPOINTMENTS TO
B
OARDS
,
 
C
OMMISSIONS
,
 
C
OMMITTEES
,
AND
T
ASK
F
ORCES
— 
The Council adopted a resolution sponsored by EllicottDistrict Council Member Darius G. Pridgen requesting of 
the City of Buffalo’s Departments of 
Law, Police, and Permits & Inspections work collaboratively with the Common Council to createa Reference, in
a
Frequently Asked Questions
 
(―FAQ‖)
format, which the public, CouncilMembers, and potentially all elected and appointed officials, could consult concerningappointments to City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces. Elected and appointedofficials, citizens, and candidates interested in serving on City Boards, Commissions,Committees and Task Forces frequently question what qualifications, if any, are required forappointment to such positions. Although some City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces do have clear and well-established qualification requirements and appointmentprocedures codified in Federal or State law, the City Charter & Code, or as part of a previouslyadopted or approved Common Council Resolution, the existence of such guidance is frequentlynot generally known nor easily obtained for those that are untrained. In some instances, theelected or appointed officials charged with appointing individuals are under significant pressureto make appointments in a timely manner, however there may be little if any guidance relating tothe potential
candidate’s
qualifications. The Council maintains that the FAQ Reference forappointment to City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces would ensure thatprospective appointees are qualified, prepared, and willing to take on the responsibilitiesassociated with serving on the respective bodies.
A
CCESSIBILITY TO
L
ANDMARK
,
 
L
ANDMARK
S
ITE AND
H
ISTORIC
D
ISTRICT
D
ESIGNATIONS
— 
The Council approved a resolution sponsored by South District Council Member Michael P.Kearns requesting of the City of Buffalo Planning Board, that they work closely with the
Department of Management Information Systems (―MIS‖) to
identify properties that havereceived a landmark, landmark site or historic district designation, and to catalog them in acentralized location on the City
’s
website. The Council is also requesting of the City of BuffaloDepartment of Assessment and Taxation that they also work closely with the City PreservationBoard and MIS to have any landmark, landmark site or historic district designation included withall publically available assessment information. A property with a landmark, landmark site orhistorical designation carries with it a degree of owner responsibility to ensure that anyalterations to the property are appropriate to the historical, aesthetical, architectural,archaeological, educational, economical, or cultural heritage of the City of Buffalo, New York State, or the United States of America. However, when these properties are transferred, newowners are may be unaware of their
property’s unique
designations and may be at risk of performing property alterations that could have a detrimental effect on City efforts to retain andpreserve historically significant properties. Currently, a listing of the properties that havereceived landmark, landmark site or historic district designation is not easily accessible by thepublic, nor is such information stored on one central location on the City of Buffalo website, norincluded with a
property’s assessment information. The Council maintains that it is essential to
inform new property owners of their properties historic designation in order to preserveproperties that are of major significance to the history and culture of the City of Buffalo.
 
3
A
LLOWING
C
ITY
R
ESIDENTS TO
D
ONATE TO
A
RTS AND
C
ULTURAL
O
RGANIZATIONS
— 
TheCouncil adopted a resolution sponsored by North District Council Member Joseph Golombek, Jr.requesting of the City of Buffalo Arts Commission and the Departments of Assessment andTaxation, Audit and Control, Administration, Finance, Policy & Urban Affairs, and Management
Information Systems (―MIS‖)
that they report back to the Common Council on the advisabilityand feasibility of accepting donations for art and cultural organizations from bill-payers whenpaying City billing
. Due to the nation’s economic downturn, many arts and cultural organizations
 are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain their operations prompting a growing need fororganizations to explore alternative forms of fundraising. The City of Buffalo is fortunate to havea vibrant arts and cultural community that adds to the quality of life in the area, makescommunities more livable, and contributes to the economic health and well-being of neighborhoods. The Council maintains that art and cultural organizations must be viewed asregional assets who are required to have comprehensive plans for long range funding. TheCouncil maintains that by designating a section on City bills where individuals can include adonation for arts and cultural organizations, citizens will be given an ability to determine thevalue that they place on supporting thriving art and cultural organizations within theircommunity. This initiative will also provide a venue for assisting art and cultural organizationsin sustaining their operations in this dire economy. Currently, the City
’s billing and payment
process would facilitate implementing this new initiative with little, if any, costs to the City.
E
STABLISHING A
G
ENERAL
P
OLICY FOR
C
OMMON
C
OUNCIL
A
PPOINTMENTS TO
B
OARDS
,
 
C
OMMISSIONS
,
 
C
OMMITTEES AND
T
ASK
F
ORCES
— 
The Council adopted a resolution sponsoredby Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen developing and enacting a general policyfor Common Council appointments to Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces.Citizen participation in the planning and operations of city-government is critical to ensuring thatelected and appointed officials identify and pursue policies which best reflect the needs andvisions of the residents and businesses of the City. In order for the City of Buffalo to best utilizethe resources which exist in its communities, it is imperative that the existence and mission of City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces be well publicized. One strategy thatcan be achieved at a minimal cost to the City would be consistent utilization of the currentavailable City resources to convey information about these bodies. The Council maintains that ageneral policy that sets a standard for the conveyance of information concerning City Boards,Commissions, Committees and Task Forces will allow the community to be aware of their rolesand opportunities residents have to serve on said bodies; greatly increasing the number, diversity,and quality of interested applicants. The enacted policy should include ways to communicate thestated purpose or mission of City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Task Forces, as well astheir upcoming meeting dates, times and locations, current membership rosters, the number of current openings, and the time commitment expected of appointees.
O
PPOSING THE
B
UFFALO
B
OARD OF
E
DUCATION
S
R
ESCINDING OF THE
T
EACHER
R
ESIDENCY
R
ULE
— 
The Council adopted a resolution strongly opposing the decision of the Buffalo Board of 
Education (―
B
BOE‖) to rescind the residency requirement for teachers of the Buffalo PublicSchools (―BPS‖) system and requesting that the
BBOE immediately revisit and reverse theirdecision regarding this action which threatens to negatively impact the quality of educationoffered in schools as well as the economic vitality of the City of Buffalo and BPS system. For

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