Administration

Administration Department

The Administration Department is responsible for managing the internal operations, as well as implementing the direction of City Council.

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Elections

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Announcements and Information
Election Calendar
  • State Primary Election – August 9, 2016
  • State General Election – November 8, 2016
    • Voting hours are 7 am – 8 pm

Questions about elections?
Call 684-5407 or email elections@ci.buffalo.mn.us

Permits & Licenses

Click here for more information about Building Permits and Licenses.

Building Permit Trends

Year Single Family Townhomes Apts
2005 175 140
2006 105 21
2007 20 32 1 – 8 units
2008 5 8 1 – 11 units
2009 4 0
2010 4 24
2011 5 0
2012 30 0
2013 33 0
2014 47 0
 2015 38 0
2016
2017
Planning & Zoning

Are Tarp Garages Allowed in the City of Buffalo?

The City of Buffalo would like to inform the residents that all tarp garages are considered temporary buildings and do not meet zoning and building code requirements. Therefore, the City would like to notify the residents that the use of tarp garages is prohibited by the City of Buffalo.  Often times, these temporary buildings are put up for temporary use, but remain on properties for long periods of time, eventually becoming permanent.  The City would like to avoid this situation and that is why we are bringing this to your attention now. 

Out of courtesy to neighbors and in the best interest of property values within our community, the City would appreciate your cooperation in this situation to help keep the City of Buffalo looking at its best. 

Planting Requirements in New Subdivisions

There are many new homes in Buffalo and most of them came with the front yards sodded or planted. It is an ordinance of the City of Buffalo and a requirement found in all subdivision development agreements that the front yard of any new home must be sodded within one year of the occupancy of the home. Also, two trees meeting minimum city standards must be planted within that one year time period in the front yard.

The City Ordinance specifies that type and size of trees required.  You can also obtain a copy of the development agreement for your subdivision by calling the city offices at 763-682-1181. 

Most property owners have already complied with the above requirements. There are others, however, that have not done the required minimum improvements. The City of Buffalo will be actively enforcing the subdivision requirements this summer, and will be notifying those homeowners that fail to meet the minimum requirements. 

Land Use

The City of Buffalo provides for the regulation of land use activities in an effort to create and maintain a high quality of life in our community. This summary of land use regulations is derived from the Buffalo Code of Ordinances, Chapter 11 and 12, Land Use Regulations (Zoning) and Subdivision Regulations (Platting).

The Comprehensive Land Use Plan was updated by the City of Buffalo in 1996. The document is a compilation of Plans and Programs affecting every function of municipal activity. Land use decisions affect utilities, transportation, and a host of other community services. New growth also has a great affect on the community. The Council has adopted an Orderly Annexation Agreement with neighboring townships in order to better manage growth and to be able to determine how land can be serviced.

Building Permits

Individual property owners often decide they want to build onto their home or business or build an accessory building, for example. In many cases this may only require a building permit.

Conditional Use Permits

In some cases a conditional use permit is required before a land owner can proceed with a project. The purpose of a conditional use permit is to provide the City with a reasonable degree of discretion in determining the suitability of certain designated uses upon the general welfare, public health and safety. In making this determination, whether or not the conditional use is to be allowed, the City may consider the nature of the adjoining land or buildings, the effect upon traffic into or from the premises, or on any adjoining roads, and all other or further factors as the City shall deem a prerequisite of consideration in determining the effect of the use on the general welfare, public health and safety.

These decisions are made at a public hearing held by the Planning Commission the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Applications are due on the third Friday of the month preceding the hearing.

Variances

A variance is often sought by a land owner when it is desired to vary from ordinance standards. A variance may be approved only in instances where the strict enforcement of the ordinance would cause undue hardship because of circumstances unique to the individual property under consideration. The City grants such variances only when it is demonstrated that such actions will be in keeping with the spirit and intent of the ordinance.

Variances are considered at a public hearing held by the Planning Commission the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Applications are due on the third Friday of the month preceding the hearing.

Planning Commission & City Council Review Requests

The Planning Commission typically reviews most land use requests. Buffalo’s Planning Commission consists of a seven-member board of citizens appointed by the City Council. Commissioners must be city residents to be appointed to the Commission and serve three-year rotating terms. The meetings are held the second Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. If the meeting date falls on a legal holiday the meetings are moved to the second Tuesday. To view the Planning Commission Calendar, please visit the Public Meetings Schedule and select “Planning Commission.”

Once the Planning Commission has formulated a recommendation on an application it is presented to the City Council at their regular meeting, typically on the third Monday following the Planning Commission hearing. The Council makes the final disposition on the request.

Transportation Funding Needs
Region 7W Transportation Policy Board

Transportation Financing

Historically, the Highway Users Tax Distribution Fund, which includes the gas tax and license tab fees, has been the primary funding source for transportation infrastructure in Minnesota.  Today, this funding source is inadequate to meet the needs for maintaining and expanding the state’s transportation system.  In addition, increased competition for limited federal funding contributes to the regions inability to address its growing transportation needs.

Region 7W supports the following initiatives:

  • Place a constitutional amendment on the ballot dedicating 100% of the motor vehicle sales tax (MVST) to transportation.  After accounting for current general fund dollars going to highways and transit, the additional funds provided would be split 75% for highways and 25% transit.
  • Increase the state’s motor vehicle fuels user fee by 10 cents per gallon (5 cents in the first year, and 5 cents in the second year) and index to the rate of inflation.  This change would provide additional dedicated transportation revenue for state highways, county state aid highways and municipal state aid streets.  In addition, the state’s portion of this increase would assist in paying back previously issued trunk highway bonds.
  • Allow local option sales, or excise taxes and fees with revenue dedicated to highways and transit.
  • Limit increases in the use of Trunk Highway Bonds equal to additional revenue that is identified to pay the interest on the bonds.
  • Place a higher priority on multi-modal transportation.
  • Provide transportation funding for small cities under 5,000 in population.
  • Eliminate the state sales tax charged to state and local governments on transportation-related purchases.
  • Develop statutes/policies to better coordinate the location and relocation of utilities and the associated costs to the public caused by transportation projects.

Transportation Projects of Regional Significance 

Region 7W has identified a number of projects to improve the regional and state transportation system.  Funding is recommended for these local transportation priorities because they provide benefits beyond their individual jurisdictions:

  • Secure right-of-way and related infrastructure improvements to increase safety and provide additional capacity, including additional lanes, improved access and transit services, where appropriate, in the Highway 55 Corridor between I-494 in Hennepin County and the western limits of the City of Annandale.
  • Support and pursue funding to construct and operate Northstar Commuter Rail.
  • Upgrade Highway 101 – U.S. Highway 169 to a rural freeway between Rogers and Princeton.
  • Construct the Sauk Rapids Bridge.
  • Address Highway 10 safety and capacity needs.
  • Construct the I-94/Highway 10 Interregional Connection (new Mississippi River crossing).
  • Support and pursue funding to construct the Dayton Bridge.
  • Establish a new state highway route between County Road 22 in Anoka County and County Road 33/U.S. Highway 169  interchange in Sherburne County.
  • Pursue funding to expand Highway 23 to four-lane from Paynesville to Richmond and to construct Highway 23/County State Aid Highway 8 Rockville interchange.


Transportation Policy Board

Region 7W includes portions of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright Counties that are located outside the defined 20-year planning area of the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization.  The nine-member policy board consists of local elected officials from the region.  A 16-member transportation advisory committee also supports the policy board.

Region 7W exists to specifically address regionally-significant transportation issues, conduct regional transportation studies and plans, solicit and select projects seeking federal funding through the Area Transportation Partnership process, and support the Minnesota Department of Transportation in its transportation activities.

For more information please contact Steven Voss, Region 7W Coordinator, at 1-800-657-3971 or by e-mail at Region7WTPB@dot.state.mn.us

Human Resources

BENEFIT PACKAGE
The City of Buffalo offers benefit packages for full-time and regular part-time employees working more than 20 hours per week.  Regular part-time benefits are pro-rated on the basis of 20-29 hours per week at 50% and 30-39 hours per week at 75% for the purposes of vacation, sick leave and holiday pay.  Benefits include medical insurance, paid holidays, educational allowance, flex plan for pre-tax contributions and retirement (Public Employees Retirement Association).

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
The City of Buffalo is an equal opportunity employer who, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities and invites current and prospective employees to discuss the need for any such accommodations with City management.

NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
The City of Buffalo will not discriminate against or harass any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or status with regard to public assistance.

Economic Development

Buffalo offers attractive incentives to businesses or industry prepared to locate in the city. The package may be tailored to the specific needs of a business and promoted through the City’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Economic Development Services
•Housing Redevelopment Authority
•Locally Controlled Loan Program
•Local Development Corporation
•Tax Increment Financing
•Chamber of Commerce

For further information, visit the Economic Development page of our website:

Economic Development

Other Resources:

City of Buffalo Historic Context Study prepared by Patrick Smith of the Minnesota Historical Society – Published 2011

Downtown Buffalo Visions – Published 2007

Data Practices Policy

RESOLUTION APPOINTING A RESPONSIBLE AUTHORITY UNDER THE MINNESOTA DATA PRACTICES ACT AND ASSIGNED DUTIES

The Buffalo City Council resolves as follows:WHEREAS, Minnesota Statutes, Section 13.02, Subdivision 16, as amended, requires the City of Buffalo appoint one person as the Responsible authority to administer the requirements for collection, storage, use and dissemination of data on individuals, within the City, and

WHEREAS, the Buffalo City Council shares the Legislature’s concern on the responsible use of all City data and desires to satisfy this concern by immediately appointing an administratively qualified Responsible Authority as required under the statute.

RESOLVED, that the Buffalo City Council appoints Merton Auger, Buffalo City Administrator, as the Responsible Authority to meet all requirements of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minnesota Statutes Chapter 13, as amended, and the rules promulgated by the Commissioner of Administration or its successor.

FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon request, the Responsible Authority shall permit a person to inspect and copy public government data at reasonable times and places and inform the person of the data’s meaning.

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Responsible Authority shall not assess a charge or fee for mere access to or inspection of public data or for the cost of retrieving and compiling documents for inspection.

PROCEDURES TO OBTAIN CITY OF BUFFALO RECORDS
The general public has access to the City of Buffalo records that are not considered private data and may retrieve information in the following ways.

1. Request information to be viewed at the City Center during regular office hours, Mondays through Fridays, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 212 Central Avenue, Buffalo, Minnesota, 55313.
2. Request specific information in written form to the Office of the City Administrator, City of Buffalo, 212 Central Avenue, Buffalo, Minnesota, 55313.
3. Request specific information by telephone at 763-682-1181 or other electronic method such as email.
4. View public documents that have been scanned by going to the City of Buffalo’s website:  http://www.ci.buffalo.mn.us/weblink8/

Estimate of Development Fees

Estimate of Development Fees for the City of Buffalo

The following is a current list of costs for residential subdivisions – preliminary and final plats. The list may not include unforeseen costs and the City is not responsible for errors or omissions. It is the developer’s responsibility to assure that they have gained the necessary information required to comply with state statutes or local ordinances and policies.

Annexation Filing Fee: $125 local fee plus $2 per acre with minimum of $25 for Minnesota Municipal Board filing fee
Per Acre Fee for Township Agreement: TBD
Trunk Sanitary Sewer Access Charge: $1,500 per acre less dedicated right of way, parks, outlots and storm water holding ponds
Trunk Water Access Charge: $750 per acre less dedicated right of way, parks, outlots and storm water holding ponds
Park Dedication: $1,600 per single family unit ($3,200 per two-family dwelling unit – $600 per unit for apartments, townhouses, condominiums and other dwelling units plus $300 per bedroom above the first bedroom) or one acre of land for every 75 persons at the rate of 3.5 persons, or combination of cash/land as recommended by the Parks Advisory Committee.  Credit may be given for purchase and installation of playground equipment and/or trail construction as determined by the Parks Advisory Committee.
Storm Water Management Fee: $ 320 per acre
Preliminary and Final Plat Filing Fee: $ 125 preliminary plat with $1500 Escrow, $310 for PUD/plat with $1500 escrow and $150 final plat with $500 escrow
Public Works/Public Safety Mobile Wireless Radio:     $4,600 per subdivision
Consulting Planners Review Fee: $155/hour
Consulting Engineer Review Fee: $175/hour
On-Site Inspection Fee: $50/hour
Recording Fees: Wright County Government Center, 10 NW Second Street, Buffalo, MN 55313, #763-682-3900

Fees Collected with Building Permit Per Unit

SAC (Sewer) $5,950 (Effective Jan 1, 2006)
WAC (Water) $750
EAC (Electric) $500
Secondary Service Fees (Electric) $250

The current City ordinance has a unit price for commercial and industrial uses that are calculated on a unit charge for every 15,000 gallons used quarterly ($750 water, $5,950 sewer for a total of $6,700).

In cases where the average water usage is over two units, a scale is used to compute the fee.

The following represents a progressive scale for the sewer and water access fees for the commercial units that have higher water usages.

Level 1 1-2 units=$6,700 per unit ($750 water, $5,950 sewer)
Level 2 3-8 units=$3,350 per unit ($375 water, $2,975 sewer)
Level 3 9+ units =$1,675 per unit ($187.50 water, $1,487.50 sewer)

One year after occupancy the actual usage is evaluated and may be adjusted.

Effective October 13, 2008
Dated October 13, 2008

Property Values
Borrett

Jim Borrett – Wright County Appraiser

 

In Minnesota, property taxes provide much of the funding for local government services. Each property’s share of taxes is determined according to its value, use, and the property tax levies.

Assessors are responsible for estimating property values and setting property classification for tax purposes. The City of Buffalo has contracted with Wright County to do the work of assessing property values for Buffalo.

Approximately every 5th year, you can expect a visit from an appraiser who will view your property. The map linked below shows how the city is organized for this work. In 2017, the area in orange will be reviewed.


Assessor’s Map

 

Information