To encourage more people to get involved in politics, North Council Member Joseph Golombek is proposing that taxpayers fund political campaigns.
The low voter turnout in recent elections would be helped if the barriers to getting involved were removed, such as raising significant sums to run for office, Golombek said.
“I think that publicly financed elections is a conversation that needs to be started,” he said, though he added that he is concerned about the source of the financing.
Golombek also would like the Council to revive its long-dormant discussion of non-partisan elections.
The Council’s Legislation Committee will discuss the items in an upcoming meeting.
In other business:
• After a public hearing in which no one spoke, the Council voted to rename the city’s tallest building from One HSBC Center to One Seneca Tower, as of Nov. 1.
The building is going through major changes as its tenants move out and it looks for new occupants. The HSBC logo was removed in September, and the bank’s lease is up on Oct. 31.
• The Council issued a proclamation to Keith Wiley, an ex-banker and teacher at Houghton Academy who led a team of eighth-grade students to beat a team from City Honors in a math competition.
Wearing a black suit and a black-and-white printed bow tie, Wiley was surrounded by friends, family, and Buffalo School District officials as he accepted the proclamation. He recounted his own humble roots on Emslie Street, and how being a single father prompted him to change course from the fast-paced world of investment banking to teaching.
“The Lord has blessed me,” he said.
• A measure from Council Member David A. Franczyk calls on the city’s Public Works and water departments to discuss the threat of blue-green algae that has been found in parts of Lake Erie.
The city needs to know if it is producing runoff that would cause the production of the toxic algae, which could threaten the city’s drinking water supply, Franczyk said.
• Lawmakers agreed to hire Pulse Occupational Medicine for at most $300,000 to perform physical exams for city firefighters.
The union that represents firefighters has been asking the city for the exams for the last three years.
• Lawmakers agreed to hire Troy & Banks to perform an audit of city streetlights, upon the recommendation of Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder.
Council President Richard A. Fontana requested the audit.
The firm will be paid a percentage of the amount they recoup for the city, based on a sliding scale.