City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. The Annual Operating Budget
[Amended 4-15-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008, effective 5-1-2008]
On or before the first day of February in each year the head of each administrative unit shall prepare and submit to the mayor through the division of budget an itemized estimate, in such form as the mayor may require, of (a) the sum of money deemed necessary to meet the expenditures of such administrative unit for the ensuing fiscal year, separately stating the amount required for all purposes, and (b) the revenues to be realized during the ensuing fiscal year from its operations. The comptroller shall include in his estimate the sum of money required to meet the interest and principal accruing during the next fiscal year on bonds, notes and certificates of indebtedness, separately stating the amounts required for school purposes and for all other purposes. The term "administrative unit," as used in this article, includes the council, departments, the board of education, boards and commissions empowered to appoint subordinate officers or employees, and any other board, commission or agency not embraced within a department. For purposes of this article, the president of the council shall be deemed the head of the council as such an administrative unit.
The mayor, after hearings thereon, at which he shall require the attendance of the heads of the respective administrative units, shall revise the estimates, with power to increase, decrease or make such changes as may serve for the best interests of the city. The president and the chairman of the finance committee of the council shall be notified of and attend such hearings and shall be permitted to make inquiry in respect to all matters affecting the items in such estimates. The mayor may make reasonable regulations governing the conduct of such hearings and may delegate the power to conduct such hearings, or any of them, to the director of the budget. The director of the budget and his or her subordinates shall assist the mayor in preparing for and in conducting such hearings and in the work of revision of such estimates.
[Amended 10-2-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012, effective 10-2-2012]
A. 
On or before the first day of May each year, the mayor shall submit to the council a budget containing a complete plan of proposed expenditures and estimated revenues for the next fiscal year. Therein he shall set forth in detail and summary:
(a) 
Estimates of the expenditures necessary in his judgment for carrying on the city government for the ensuing fiscal year, separately stating the estimates of expenditures necessary for school purposes and for all other purposes and stating in total the amount necessary to accomplish every separate function of each administrative unit or other purpose.
(b) 
Estimates of the receipts of the city during the ensuing fiscal year under laws existing at the time of the budget is transmitted and also under the revenue proposals, if any, contained in the budget, and shall allocate separately the estimates of receipts to be credited for school purposes and for all other purposes.
(c) 
The expenditures and receipts of the city during the last completed fiscal year.
(d) 
Estimates of the expenditures and receipts of the city during the current fiscal year.
(e) 
The balanced statements of the condition of the treasury at the end of the last completed fiscal year and the estimated condition of the treasury at the end of the current fiscal year.
(f) 
All essential facts regarding the bonded and other indebtedness of the city.
(g) 
Such other financial statements and data as in the mayor's judgment are necessary or desirable in order to make known in all practicable detail the financial condition of the city.
(h) 
Any recommendations of the mayor to the council with respect to new sources of revenues.
(i) 
For each separate function of each administrative unit or other purpose:
i. 
an outline of the administrative organization for the performance of the function;
ii. 
a summary of the expenditures, estimated fringe benefits and other unallocated indirect costs, and net cost or gain to the city of such function during the last two completed fiscal years, as estimated for the current fiscal year, and as budgeted for the ensuing fiscal year;
iii. 
a summary explanation of any major changes in revenues or expenditures and any non-recurring revenue or expenditure;
iv. 
a summary of the objectives of such function during the ensuing fiscal year, the services to be provided to the residents or government of the city, and to the extent reasonably practicable the number of units and the unit cost of each such service.
(j) 
A statement estimating the fiscal impact of any condition that may be reasonably foreseen as likely to cause a deficit in the ensuing year or to require a tax increase or reduction of services in order to avert a deficit in the ensuing year or in the year following the ensuing year.
B. 
Four-Year Financial Plan.
In support of the mayor's budget and to assist the common council in its review as provided pursuant to this article, commencing with the city's 2013-2014 fiscal year and continuing in each subsequent fiscal year, the director of the budget shall prepare and submit to the mayor and to the common council a four-year financial plan. The financial plan shall contain actions sufficient to ensure with respect to the major operating funds for each fiscal year of the plan that annual aggregate operating expenses for such fiscal year shall not exceed annual aggregate operating revenues for such fiscal year. The details of such plan shall be as further described in section 20-32 of this article.
No estimate or request for an appropriation, except as herein before provided, and no request for an increase in any item of such estimate and no recommendations as to how the city's needs may be met shall be submitted to the council, or to any member of any committee thereof, by any department, or division of a department, any commission, board or agency of the city or by an officer or employee thereof unless required by the council.
Whenever the city of Buffalo shall issue bonds or bond anticipation notes for a specific capital improvement or several specific capital improvements, or make expenditures for a specific capital improvement from the proceeds of bond or bond anticipation notes issued for a class or classes of capital improvements or from a fund into which the proceeds of bonds or bond anticipation notes are paid, that part of the cost of capital improvements which the city of Buffalo is required under the provisions of section 107.00 of the local finance law to pay from "current funds," as that term is defined in paragraph a of section 107.00 of the local finance law, shall be provided only by direct budgetary appropriations or the proceeds of capital notes issued for the payment of the cost of capital improvements.
The common council may by resolution elect to exclude from the tax limitation prescribed by section ten of article eight of the state constitution, all or part of the taxes required for such direct budgetary appropriations or for the redemption of such capital notes, and the amounts so excluded shall not be diverted to a purpose other than for which such appropriations or capital notes were made or issued.
For the purpose of this section, the term "capital improvements" shall mean:
(a) 
Any physical public betterment or improvement or any preliminary studies and surveys relative thereto, or
(b) 
Land or rights in land, or
(c) 
Any furnishings, machinery, apparatus or equipment for any physical betterment or improvement when such betterment is first constructed or acquired, or
(d) 
Any combination of items (a), (b), and (c), or
(e) 
Boats, firefighting vehicles and apparatus, machinery for highway construction and maintenance, and motor vehicles having periods of probable usefulness assigned in subdivisions twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, and twenty-nine of paragraph a of section 11.00 of the local finance law.
The mayor shall submit to the council with the proposed budget a budget message which shall:
(a) 
describe the important features of the current budget with reference both to proposed expenditures and anticipated income and a general summary showing the current and capital requirements for the fiscal year, with supporting schedules;
(b) 
exhibit the aggregate figures of the current budget in such manner as to show a balanced relation between the total proposed expenditures and the total anticipated income for the fiscal year covered by it;
(c) 
compare these figures with the corresponding figures of the last completed fiscal year and the year in progress; and
(d) 
outline a fiscal policy for the city and describe its relationship to the objectives of the mayor's annual management plan and report and the four-year strategic plan.
The message shall contain such comments with respect to the capital plan and budget as the mayor may deem advisable, including the probable effect thereof for each of the years involved. The city clerk shall promptly publish the budget message in the city record and distribute a summary to the news media.
[Amended 10-2-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012, effective 10-2-2012]
On or before the tenth day of May, the Comptroller shall submit to the council an assessment of the accuracy of the revenue and expenditure estimates of the budget and the four-year financial plan the mayor submits to the council. The comptroller shall opine on the sufficiency of the financial plan and whether it contains sufficient data to support the outcomes projected.
At the first meeting of the council after the submission to it by the mayor of the annual budget, the council shall proceed to a consideration thereof.
The council may strike out or reduce items therein and may add thereto items of appropriation, provided that such additions are stated separately and distinctly from the original items of the budget and refer each to a single object or purpose.
If no additions are made by the council, the budget, as passed by it, shall be deemed to have been adopted without any action of the mayor; if, however, the budget as passed by the council contains any such additions, it must be presented by the city clerk to the mayor on or before the fifth day of June, two thousand and three, and on or before the twenty-second day of May each succeeding year for his or her consideration of such additions. If the mayor approves all the additions, he or she shall affix his or her signature to a statement thereof and return the budget and such statement to the city clerk. The budget, including the additions as part thereof, shall then be deemed to have been adopted. The mayor may object to any one or more or such added items and in such case shall append to the budget a statement of the added items to which he or she objects with the reasons for his objections and shall return the budget with his or her objections to the city clerk who shall present the same to the council at its next stated or special meeting. The council shall thereupon enter the objections upon its journal and proceed to reconsider the additions so objected to. If upon such reconsideration two-thirds of all the members constituting the council vote to approve such additions, or any of them, notwithstanding the objections of the mayor, the budget with the additions so approved, together with any additions not so objected to by the mayor, shall be deemed to have been adopted. If the budget with additions is not returned by the mayor to the city clerk with his or her objections within ten days after its presentation, it shall be deemed to have been adopted.
If a budget has not been adopted, as herein provided, on or before the twentieth day of June, two thousand and three, and on or before the eighth day of June each succeeding year then the budget, as submitted by the mayor, including all additions to which he or she has failed to object, shall be the budget for the ensuing fiscal year.
The city clerk shall publish a summary of the council's budget actions in the city record and distribute it to the news media.
The budget, as finally adopted, shall not appropriate, for grants-in-aid to approved agencies, more than three percent (3%) of the approved tax levy for the fiscal year in effect at the time of the newly adopted budget. For purposes of this section, "approved agencies" are defined as those groups which have satisfied all requirements of sections 20-1 through 20-6 of this article and of section 6-30 of the code of the city of Buffalo.
Each department, division, city agency or other purpose shall be credited with the appropriation included in the budget for it. The appropriation for every function of each department, division, city agency or other purpose shall be a fixed item and the total expenditures for each such function shall not exceed the appropriation therefor as originally made or increased.
The expenditures for the major objects included within each function shall not exceed the amount allocated therefor except that the director of the budget may approve in writing the reallocation of funds to or from any major object of expenditure, including personal services, within the appropriation for every function of each department, division, city agency or other purpose and may allocate the amount of any increased appropriation in like manner; provided, however, that the total expenditure for all major objects within any function shall not exceed the appropriation for such function as originally made or increased.
The expenditures for each function of every department, division, city agency or other purpose shall be kept within the amounts fixed in the budget for each such function, except that the council may by a two-thirds vote, upon the certificate of the mayor and comptroller, showing the necessity therefor, increase the appropriation for any function to meet any contingency which could not have been reasonably foreseen when the budget was adopted, but such increase shall not be in excess of the amount specified in such certificate. Except as otherwise provided by section 29.00 of the local finance law, no appropriation shall be increased for the current fiscal year after the adoption of the budget for the next succeeding fiscal year.
The council may in any fiscal year, by a two-thirds vote, on a certificate of the mayor and the comptroller showing the necessity therefor, direct the transfer of any unexpended balance of the appropriation for any function from any department, division, city agency or purpose to another department, division, city agency or purpose, provided the item or part of the item so transferred was contained in the annual budget for the current fiscal year and will not be needed by the department, division, city agency or purpose for which it was appropriated.
Money raised by tax for any particular purpose shall be applied only to that purpose except as in this section provided and any city officer who shall assist in its use for any other purpose shall be subject to removal from office.
No department, division, city agency or officer shall incur any expense or liability on behalf of the city to be met by general taxation nor attempt to bind the city in any way unless there be available an appropriation for such expense or liability.
Each department, division and city agency and each officer thereof shall be governed by the appropriations allotted thereto in the budget or increased as in this act provided, and shall not incur any expense or liability in excess of any such appropriation as originally made or increased.
Any officer who shall incur or who shall assist in incurring any expense or liability in violation of either of the two preceding sections shall be subjected to removal from office.
The city clerk shall make a certificate of the time of the presentation to the mayor of a resolution or ordinance or a budget with additions, which the mayor has neglected for ten days to approve or return which certificate shall be entered upon the journals of the council.
[Amended 10-2-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012, effective 10-2-2012]
The director of the budget shall submit to the mayor and the council within 45 days of the close of the first, second and third fiscal quarters of the city's fiscal year a report:
(a) 
summarizing the actual revenues and expenditures for such quarter as compared to such estimates in the budget;
(b) 
projecting, based on any material revenue and expenditure trends or other factors that the director reasonably believes may influence the city's finances, probable fiscal year-end results as compared to the budget;
(c) 
projecting the impact of such trends or factors on the following fiscal year and such other future fiscal years as the director deems appropriate to consider; and
(d) 
updating quarterly cash flow projections of receipts and disbursements which compare actual receipts and disbursements with the estimates contained in the cash flow projections, together with variances and their explanation.
Prior to submitting the report to the mayor and the council, the director shall submit a draft report to the comptroller for review and comment. If in the comptroller's opinion the final report raises any substantial issue, the comptroller shall promptly submit to the mayor and the council a statement describing such issue. All quarterly reports shall be accompanied by recommendations from the mayor to the council setting forth any remedial action necessary to resolve any unfavorable budget variances including the overestimation of revenues and the underestimation of appropriations.
(a) 
Unreserved Fund Balance. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2007-08, the City of Buffalo shall set aside an amount of general fund unreserved fund balance equal to no less than 30 days of prior year expenditures pursuant to a fund balance policy. Said policy shall be approved by the Mayor and Comptroller subject to a majority vote of the Common Council, and approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel. These funds shall be used for extraordinary operating or capital needs that could not be anticipated and cannot be funded with current budget resources. It shall be the Comptroller's responsibility to submit to the Mayor and the Common Council the annual calculation that determines the amount to be placed in these funds.
(b) 
Reserved Fund Balance. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2007-2008, the City of Buffalo shall set aside a reserve of general fund balance in an amount of up to 15 days of prior year general fund expenditures, or as otherwise authorized by law. The reserve shall be for purposes allowed for in General Municipal Law, Section 6-c. It shall be the Comptroller's responsibility to submit to the Mayor and the Common Council the annual calculation that determines the amount to be placed in these funds.
B. The Annual Operating Budget For The Board of Dunn Tire Park
[Amended 2-4-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003,[1] effective 2-28-2003]
The procedure for the preparation, adoption and execution of the annual operating budget for the Board of Dunn Tire Park shall be as provided in sections 20-1 through 20-16, as applicable, except that:
(a) 
the board shall submit its estimate to the mayor on or before February 1;
(b) 
the mayor shall submit a budget to the council on or before May 1;
(c) 
if the budget as passed by the council contains any additions, it must be presented by the city clerk to the mayor on or before May 22; and
(d) 
if a budget has not been adopted as so provided on or before June 8, then the budget as submitted by the mayor, including all additions to which the mayor has failed to object shall be the budget for the ensuing year.
C. The Capital Program, and Budget
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also provided an effective date of 7-1-2003.
As used in this article the term "capital improvement" shall mean:
(a) 
Any physical public betterment or improvement or preliminary studies and surveys relative thereto; or
(b) 
Land or rights in lands; or
(c) 
Any furnishings, machinery, apparatus or equipment for any physical betterment or improvement; or
(d) 
Any betterment, object or purpose for which a period of probable usefulness has been established by the local finance law of the state of New York and for which the city may legally contract indebtedness; or
(e) 
Any combination of items (a), (b), (c) and (d).
On or before the first day of August in each year, the head of each administrative unit (as defined in section 20-1) and each member of the council wishing to propose a capital improvement for authorization in the capital budget for the next calendar year or for inclusion in the capital program for the next four calendar years thereafter shall submit such proposal, together with an estimate of its cost to the mayor through the coordinator of strategic planning in such form as the mayor may require.
On or before the first day of August, the comptroller shall submit to the mayor a report showing the amount and nature of all obligations authorized on account of each capital project and the liabilities incurred for each such project outstanding at the end of the last fiscal year (June 30), commenting in detail about the city's financial condition and advising as to the maximum amount of capital debt that the city may prudently incur in the next calendar year and each of the four following calendar years without impairing the city's credit rating and financial stability.
Before the fifteenth day of September, the strategic planning commission shall conduct hearings on the proposed capital budget and capital program, at which the mayor shall invite the attendance of the comptroller, the president and the chairman of the finance committee of the council, and the heads of the administrative units.
On or before the seventh day of October, the citizens planning council shall submit to the mayor a recommended capital budget for the ensuing calendar year and a recommended capital improvement program for the next four calendar years thereafter. The recommended capital budget and capital improvement program shall identify each proposed capital improvement with reasonable particularity and, as to each, show its estimated capital cost and annual costs of debt service and operation and maintenance. Together with its recommendations, the commission shall submit a report which shall:
(a) 
Estimate the amount of capital debt that the city may prudently incur in the next calendar year and each of the four calendar years thereafter without impairing the city's credit rating and financial stability;
(b) 
Indicate the relative priority, individually or in classes, of the proposed capital improvements included in the recommended capital budget and capital improvement program;
(c) 
Identify the probable fiscal, economic, environmental and social effects of each proposed capital improvement;
(d) 
Explain the relationship of the recommended capital budget and capital improvement program to the mayor's four-year strategic plan, and the city's master plan;
(e) 
Explain any new projects or other variances between the recommended capital budget and capital improvement program and the current capital budget and capital improvement program.
(f) 
Summarize the strategy for the development of the city's capital facilities for the ensuing four fiscal years;
(g) 
Present in tables the capital commitments estimated to be made during each of the ensuing four fiscal years, by program category and agency. Where relevant, the anticipated sources of financing for particular categories and projects shall be specified; and
(h) 
Present a map or maps, which illustrate major components of the strategy as relevant.
On or before the first day of November, the mayor shall submit to the council a capital budget consisting of a statement of the capital expenditures, if any, which it is proposed shall be made by the city during the next calendar year, a separate and distinct program for capital improvements to be made in each of the next five years thereafter, and a report. The mayor's capital budget, capital improvement program and report shall include the same categories of information as required by section 20-23.
The mayor's capital budget for capital improvements to be made during the next calendar year shall also separately and distinctly specify:
(a) 
Each proposed capital improvement, the estimated cost thereof and the said order of priority.
(b) 
Which of said proposed capital improvements are deemed to be self-sustaining.
(c) 
The amount, if any, of the costs of any of the proposed capital improvements, which will be recovered from grants by the federal or the state government or any agency thereof, and the estimated amount of such recovery.
(d) 
Which of said proposed capital improvements are excludable from the constitutional limitation of local indebtedness.
(e) 
Which of said proposed capital improvements are required by law to be initially financed in part by cash payment, the extent of such required cash payment and the amount of the initial cash payment proposed by the mayor to be made for each capital improvement.
(f) 
Which of said proposed capital improvements are to be constructed on lands presently owned by the city and which on lands to be acquired.
(g) 
The amount of money necessary to pay any capital notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued during the current fiscal year for cash payment requirements.
The city clerk shall publish the mayor's capital budget and capital improvement program in the city record and distribute a summary to the news media.
If the mayor's capital budget or capital improvement program proposes to incur capital debt in excess of the maximum amount advised by the comptroller, or if any proposed capital improvement appears likely to cost more than the amount estimated or not to be ready for implementation in the year proposed, the comptroller shall within ten days submit to the council a report advising as to the probable effect of such debt on the city's financial condition.
At the first meeting of the council after submission to it by the mayor of the proposed capital budget, the council shall proceed to a consideration thereof.
The consideration by the council of the capital expenditure budget, its actions, duties and prerogatives with respect thereto as well as the actions, duties and prerogatives of the mayor with respect to the council's action on the capital improvement budget, shall be the same as that provided in and in accordance with section 20-8, except that if a capital budget has not been adopted as herein provided, on or before the 15th day of December, then the capital budget as submitted by the mayor, including all additions to which he or she has failed to object shall be the capital budget for the next calendar year.
The capital improvement budget for the ensuing fiscal year shall be deemed a program of necessary or desirable capital improvements in the city of Buffalo, but the expenditures for each of such objects or purposes may not be made unless and until the council by appropriate action for the payment thereof provides funds or authorizes the issuance of serial bonds or other capital obligations.
No indebtedness shall be contracted or authorized for capital improvements in excess of or for purposes different from those provided in the capital improvement budget for the ensuing fiscal year, except that the council may, by a two-thirds vote and upon the certificate of the mayor and comptroller showing the necessity therefor, increase the amount of any capital improvement or include a new item of capital improvement which could not have been reasonably foreseen when the capital improvement budget was adopted.
On or before December 15, the council shall approve the mayor's capital improvement program, with such amendments as the council shall consider appropriate. The mayor and the strategic planning commission shall give due consideration to such amendments in the preparation of the mayor's four-year strategic plan and the proposed capital budget and capital improvement program for the following year. The city clerk shall promptly publish the council's actions on the capital budget and the capital improvement program in the city record and distribute a summary to the news media.
Notwithstanding authorization in the capital budget, no debt shall be incurred for any capital improvement except as further authorized pursuant to the local finance law of the state of New York.
On April 30 and October 31, the mayor shall submit to the council, the comptroller, and the citizens planning council a report describing the progress of the capital improvement projects, including schedules and explanations of any delays or anticipated cost overruns.
[Added 10-2-2012 by L.L. No. 1-2012, effective 10-2-2012]
A. 
Pursuant to the procedures contained in this section, each year the director of the budget shall develop, and from time to time modify, a four-year financial plan for all major operating funds of the city wherein the first year of the financial plan will be the proposed budget as submitted on or before the first day of May each year. Each such financial plan and financial plan modification shall comply with the requirements of subdivision 2 of this section and shall conform to the following standards:
(1) 
For each fiscal year, the city's budgets for all major operating funds covering all expenditures shall be prepared and balanced so that the results thereof would not show a deficit when reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and would permit comparison of the budget with the report of actual financial results prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. For this purpose, unassigned fund balance existing at the end of the prior fiscal year can be used as a resource and shall not be considered a deficit under generally accepted accounting principles when calculating the deficit. Fund balance in excess of the unassigned amount from the most recently completed audited financial may not be used as a resource in the four-year plan;
(2) 
The financial plan shall include: (a) information related to projected employment levels, collective bargaining agreements and other actions related to employee costs, and such other actions to ensure that there are provisions made for such obligations in the plan; (b) information related to recurring expenditures and contracted obligations for utilities, services and supplies; (c) information related all revenue estimates and an explanation of any significant deviations from prior year actual results (for this purpose, a significant deviation is defined as an amount exceeding one percent (1%) of total revenues of the general fund as reported in the most recently completed audited financials); (d) adequate reserves to maintain essential services in the event revenues have been overestimated or expenditures underestimated for any period; and (e) adequate cash resources to meet its obligations;
(3) 
The plan should include one year of cash flow projections of receipts and disbursements;
(4) 
Provision shall be made for the payment in full of the scheduled debt service on all bonds and notes of the city due in the applicable fiscal years of the four-year plan;
(5) 
All projections of revenues and expenditures contained in the financial plan shall be based on reasonable and appropriate assumptions and methods of estimation. All cash flow projections shall be based upon reasonable and appropriate assumptions as to sources and uses of cash (including but not limited to the timing thereof), and shall provide for operations of the city to be conducted within the cash resources so projected;
(6) 
The amount of cash on hand at the beginning of any fiscal year shall be estimated in accordance with paragraph six of this subdivision, but in no event shall it be less than two times the average monthly cash disbursements of the last completed fiscal year;
(7) 
In the event that the operations during the preceding fiscal year have created a negative unassigned fund balance, the first fiscal year included in any financial plan shall make provision for the repayment of any deficit incurred by the city during the preceding fiscal year; If such deficit is in excess of two percent (2%) of the prior year real tax levy, a replenishment plan covering the four years of the plan may be implemented if agreed upon by the mayor, comptroller and president of the common council;
B. 
The powers, duties, and obligations set forth in this section shall be subject to the powers, duties, and obligations placed upon the City by any state or local officer or agency, including but not limited to the Buffalo fiscal stability authority act, while such act remains in effect.