By JASON GREENBERG
Mayor Byron W. Brown today unveiled a multi-pronged initiative: The City of Buffalo Lead Hazard Control Program – Legislate, Collaborate, Educate and Remediate. This aggressive initiative, to reduce Buffalo residents’ exposure to hazards from lead-based paint, includes key amendments to the City Charter, City Code, and the city’s Rental Registry Law.
As Mayor Brown’s proposed in his FY 2017 City Budget, unveiled April 29, the City’s Rental Registration Fee will be doubled. That increase will allow 25 percent of fees collected, a minimum of $250,000, annually, to be dedicated to lead issues. Additionally, $205,000 will be made available to start the program this year. The plan will provide funds to make 150 Buffalo units Lead-Safe each year.
“My administration has worked with the Common Council to develop the Buffalo Lead Hazard Control Program. It will be a comprehensive and collaborative effort to fight lead exposure in Buffalo. Funding will be provided for remediation and education. We will also take aggressive regulatory actions to hold landlords to a higher degree of accountability, while increasing their tenants understanding of lead dangers, and what they can do to live in a safe home,” said Mayor Brown.
The collaborative effort to reduce lead exposure will include the City’s Department of Permits and Inspection Services, Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency and the City’s 311 system, which will have a dedicated ‘lead line’, working in partnership with the Erie County Department of Health, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and Buffalo Public Schools.
Lead is a fact of life nationally, as well as in Buffalo, because so many City homes and apartment buildings were built before 1978, when lead-based paint was banned. But the health hazards it presents, especially to young children, cannot be ignored.
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