Homeowners and other property owners in Buffalo, brace yourselves and take notes.

City officials on Monday night hosted the first in a series of meetings, scheduled to take place in all districts this summer, to discuss property assessments and possible changes in fees.

In May, when Mayor Byron Brown gave his State of the City address, he said the city was “strong,” but added that property taxes might need to be raised by up to 9% in the year ahead. Properties in the city of Buffalo have not had a tax assessment update in five years.

In his speech, the mayor said the increased fees would be needed to pay for increased services. Under the proposed budget, the mayor called for a 9% increase in addition to a $30 user fee increase for homeowners and a $40 user fee increase for businesses. That translates to an additional $78 for a property owner whose house is assessed at $100,000 within city limits.

During budget discussions after the proposal was released in May, the mayor and city council approved a budget with a smaller tax increase, of 4.19%, or an increase of $72 per year, or $6.03 per month, for what was described as house in the city with an average value of $160,700. For commercial properties, the tax levy stands at 7.5%.

Overall, the proposed budget initially released by the mayor of $618 million was reduced by more than $2.3 million, down to $615,616,500.

During the 2025 Reassessment Project meeting in the Fillmore District Monday night, officials tried to paint the increases as the result of living in a city on the rise after years -- decades, even -- of economic hardship and part of the cost of living in a vibrant place.

“It means things are going great in the city,” said Jason Shell, the city’s commissioner of assessment and taxation. “As far as our standpoint, the assessment is to make sure property tax is split evenly and equitably.”

Robert Koszarek, a reassessment coordinator, added that assessments currently on properties represent 61.5% of full market value of these properties. “Through market appreciation, the equalization rate has dropped as property values increased,” something that needs to be adjusted.

In all, some 94,000 properties will be reassessed starting next year, with updated tax bills to follow.

Residents in the Fillmore District, kicking off the summer-long series, are unhappy with the proposals. One resident said it’s not fair to homeowners to increase tax fees when so many are losing their homes because they can’t keep up with their bills already.

The remaining district meetings are as follows:

SouthTuesday, July 9, 2024Southside Elementary, 430 Southside Pkwy
UniversityThursday, July 11, 2024Ken/Bailey Neighborhood Housing Services, 995 Kensington Ave.
LovejoyMonday, July 15, 2024Autumnwood Senior Center, 1800 Clinton St.
EllicottThursday, July 18, 2024Downtown Branch Library, 1 Lafayette Sq.
MastenThursday, July 25, 2024Northland Workforce Training Center (Community Room), 877 E Delavan Ave.
NiagaraMonday, July 29, 2024Richmond-Summer Recreation Center, 337 Summer St.
NorthTuesday, July 30, 2024West Hertel School, 489 Hertel Ave.
DelawareThursday, August 1, 2024North Buffalo Community Center, 203 Sanders Rd.

Highlights from 2024-25 City of Buffalo Budget

The 2024-25 City of Buffalo budget took effect on July 1, 2024. The overall value of the budget is pegged at $1,897,022,771

Gallery Credit: Ed Nice