Community National Bank to Finance a Portion of New City Hall

DISCUSSION FOR NEW CITY HALL -- Members of the Buffalo City Council discuss additional funding for the new City Hall/Convention Center. Pictured are Martin Housler, Dorothy Farmer, Mayor Royce Dawkins, Attorney Jerry Nowlin, Dianne Ryder, and Glenn Hightower.

Members of the Buffalo City Council met Monday, January 6, for a special called meeting and work session. All were present except Councilman Jerry Salazar. Buffalo Mayor Royce Dawkins presided.

The topic concerned financing a part of the construction of the new Buffalo City Hall / Convention Center that is already underway. The total cost of the new building is $1,710,000. The majority of funds used to pay for the building will come from the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund. But, the city will need to borrow about $510,000. to complete the project.

After a discussion and consideration, the board voted in favor of borrowing the money needed, up to $550,000, from Community National Bank of Buffalo. Officers from Community National Bank, Tommy Neyland and Jerry Sanders, were present at the meeting.

At the last city council meeting, the attorney for the city of Buffalo, Jerry Nowlin, recommended that the city purchase a tax note to fund the portion of the new building not covered by the hotel/motel tax fund. Purchasing a tax note would include the additional expense of $25,000 for an administration fee. The rate would be at 2% and the city would have six years to pay it off.

However, after council members expressed concern about not approaching the local banks for the loan, Nowlin said he went ?back to the drawing board?, and contacted the local banks for offers. Nowlin then presented the board with information on the terms from the local banks.

Sanders respectfully reminded the council that the land to build the new city hall and civic center was donated by Community National Bank with the request of being able to finance a portion of the construction. The new building is being built next to the Community Bank. ?We look forward to having you as neighbors,? said Sanders.

The loan will be a one year note at an adjustable rate with the option to renew. The note can be extended for up to six years, but can be paid off earlier without penalty.

The council members felt this option will give them the ability to continue to provide some funds for the various local groups who use the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund to support their events. Concern to be able to still help fund the events was expressed by most members of the council.

Though details do not seem finalized, the mayor said that the BEDC will not be housed at the new City Hall, and the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce will continue to operate in their offices at the old Civic Center.

The new Civic Center, which will include an information area, will require an employee as a receptionist. Council person Dianne Ryder said she was unaware that a person would have to be employed for that position. ?I understood that the BEDC would be in the new building and operate the information area to avoid the expense of adding a new employee,? said Ryder. The mayor indicated that that would not be the case.

Mike Glick was on the agenda to address the council concerning the Convention Center but was called away from the meeting and was not heard.