1. If the goal is to keep residents from selling their property at a much higher value than it was worth prior to development, because they are so grounded in the community of the neighborhood, the best way to accomplish this would be to develop the skill-sets required for all these new jobs blessing our area for the first time in two generations.
    That way, more homeowners could display their pride in home maintenance, while affording the supposedly higher property taxes (which most would be entirely exempt from even if their property values doubled without improvements).
    Let’s see what educational programs might be available and start there. Keeping a high concentration of families making half the average income in what is already a low income city seems like the worst-case scenario. Raise the incomes of all those who would like to stay, and put a nice chunk of change in the pocket of those who voluntarily sell.

    • Ryan,
      Thank you for taking the time to express your comments at my website. I understand the points that you’ve made – but I’m not in full agreement. Just a few points:
      – Many of the current residents are older and not likely to benefit from a training or development program.
      – Much of what has made the Fruit Belt neighborhood a livable community will be gone before training/development programs will take hold.
      – From what I can see, most of the owner-occupied houses already reflect the owner’s “pride” in her/his neighborhood.

      I’d love to learn about the mechanism or program that would insulate current homeowners from property tax increase. It is not an area I’m familiar with.
      Thank you.

      Art Giacalone

  2. HI Art,

    I’m no tax expert so I may be mistaken on this, but the only activity that will increase taxes on the homeowners is if the city reassesses the value of those properties. I’ve heard there are already discussions to freeze assessments in the area. The seniors you’re referring to are eligible for Enhanced STAR, which exempts them for up to $63,300 of their home value. I personally think reverse mortgages are mostly a scam, but these seniors could feasibly boost their incomes with higher assessments if they aren’t passing along the homes to their children someday. And if they are, all the better for their children!

    When you speak of what has made the Fruit Belt neighborhood a livable community, what do you think that is? And why will it be disappearing? (Not meant to read as a challenging question, I’d like to better understand what all is involved and what is at risk).

    Just as Canisius and Sisters Hospital didn’t result in displacement, I don’t believe there will be a mass exodus from the Fruit Belt in the immediate. Things do change. I’m hopeful that all neighborhoods in Buffalo change based on their increased desirability. It’s unfortunate that so many have historically declined due to a vacuum left by those “fleeing” for greener pastures.

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