NYS Seal





Addressing the Financial Problems of Upstate Cities in New York State


The purpose of this hearing is to investigate the causes of, and share effective solutions to, the challenges faced by upstate cities.

June 2, 2006
10:30 AM
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
1 Lafayette Square

Upstate cities are a vital cornerstone of the New York State economy. However, many of these cities are experiencing significant fiscal stress, with deficits in their budgets predicted for several years to come. In addition, many cities are approaching their constitutional debt and tax limits. New York State help is needed as these cities undertake initiatives to diversify and strengthen their economies.

In 2003 the Assembly Committee on Cities held "City Summit" hearings throughout the State to receive input on some of the challenges facing New York's cities. This hearing is designed to gain a fresh perspective from community leaders on what other steps the state can take to aid upstate cities. We look forward to exploring innovative approaches that have and may be used in the future to enhance success.

Please see below for a list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony.

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. Two copies of the prepared testimony should be sent to the committees a week in advance of the hearings.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

James Brennan
Member of Assembly
Committee on Cities

Sam Hoyt
Member of Assembly
Committee on Oversight, Analysis and Investigation


  1. What are the fiscal challenges facing your City in the next five years and what is the financial plan for meeting them? What is the current and anticipated role of State aid in your plan?

  2. How are State Constitutional tax and debt limits affecting vital concerns like maintenance and improvement of infrastructure? What is the current and future role of the City of Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority? Are there other financing mechanisms available to assist Buffalo and other cities to invest in infrastructure, housing, or other areas?

  3. Are there other functions of city governments where it would be appropriate for the State to assume financial responsibility or provide relief?

  4. What should be the future role of major State agencies such as the Empire State Development Corporation, the Power Authority, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, and/or other public authorities? What role can these agencies play in economic redevelopment, revitalization, and infrastructure?

  5. What current mechanisms are available to eliminate vacant or blighted housing and vacant and/or contaminated industrial sites? Are there other proposals to accelerate removal of vacant, blighted, or contaminated structures?

  6. What role can the State play in other areas to make cities attractive places to live such as: art, public transport, environmental protection, services for children?

  7. What are some of the current challenges your city is facing in attracting businesses?

  8. In an effort to achieve savings, many cities have re-evaluated their public management practices. What efforts has your city made to provide services in a more efficient manner?

  9. What strategic planning efforts have been undertaken to identify effective solutions for the cities in the region?

  10. How do you share information regarding best practices with other cities in the areas of infrastructure, business development, environmental protection, historic preservation, tourism, marketing, housing and strategic planning? Please share experiences in these areas that might be instructive for other cities. Is there a role for the State or specific agencies to play?


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on Addressing the Financial Problems of Upstate Cities in Buffalo on June 2, 2006 are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Deborah Stevens
Legislative Associate
Assembly Committee on Cities
Room 520- Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-4363
(518) 455-5182 Fax

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on Addressing the Financial Problems of Upstate Cities in to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Cities on June 2, 2006.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

box I do not plan to attend the above hearing.

box I would like to be added to the Committee mailing list for notices and reports.

box I would like to be removed from the Committee mailing list.


I will require assistance and/or handicapped accessibility information. Please specify the type of assistance required:








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