Mayor Teri Lachermeier
Teri Lachermeier, Mayor
Email Teri Lachermeier
I come to you the community of Buffalo with gratitude in my heart. Without the wonderful people who live here and invest in our great city this would not be possible. A great thank you to our city staff who hold it all together, our council and our city board members as well.
Executive Summary 2023
A community where excellence and opportunity come together.
The City of Buffalo strives to provide superior services and a safe environment to live, work & play. The City and its stakeholders will meet the changing needs of the community through innovation and collaboration.
City Council Core Strategies:
- Foster welcoming culture of engaged & active citizens
- Maintain & Improve Public Infrastructure
- Maintain Fiscal Responsibility
- Provide a Safe, Secure & Healthy Community
- Provide Planned & Sustainable Growth
- Provide a Supportive & Balanced Business Environment
- Continue to be a Collaborative, Inclusive & High Functioning Team
- Continue Evolving the Quality of Life for the City of Buffalo’s Diverse Needs
City Facilities Plan:
Pavement Management Plan:
City Council received a draft of the updated Pavement Management Plan in late 2022. Funding of the plan is a priority of the City Council and the 2023 budget includes $500,000 for pavement maintenance activities.
Street Projects Underway:
- A federal grant was awarded for a portion of the TH 25 reconstruction from Downtown Commons to Settlers Parkway. The project remains on schedule to be started in 2023.
- The proposed Ryans Way Extension to 1st St NE received federal funding for a portion of the project. The project timeline is still uncertain, but we hope to have it completed soon.
- The Downtown Division Street project final paving is scheduled this year which will complete the project.
Community Planning & Economic Devlopment Update:
Welcome to Citizenserve:
The City of Buffalo's new online permitting software designed to reduce staff time and streamline paperwork is now live! To further streamline permitting & building requirements, brochures are being developed on topics ranging from changes in occupancy to requirements for fencing- with the goal of reducing valuable staff time when questions relating to these topics are asked.
- Misty Meadows 3rd addition with 26 homes
- Whispering Winds 5th addition with 11 homes
- Greenbriar Hills 5th, 6th and 7th addition(s) totaling 89 homes.
- Proposed developments include Settler’s Brook, Buffalo Point & Creekside Manor
- In 2022, there were 36 new single family home permits issued versus 78 in 2021
- The Crossings at Willems Way multi-family development with 62 units is now complete
- New businesses include Natural Roots Salon, Parisian Corner, & Nautical Bowls
- Dunkin’ Donuts is now open
- The Wright County Health & Human Services building has been sold
- The Wright County Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the City of Buffalo Council / Staff have developed a task force to plan the redevelopment of the old Government Center property
Buffalo Community Plan:
The Buffalo Community Plan is the City’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan that will guide development and City goals / priorities for the next few decades. It includes future Land Use plans, areas targeted for additional open space, and key projects for the city to explore. This is projected to be complete by Spring of this year.
Parks & Recreation
General Parks and Rec 2022 Recap:
- The new website provided us with online registration, reservation & payment capability.
- Wild Marsh Golf Course was sold to private golf course management company who has continued to provide a beautiful course for residents.
- The Splash Pad group is making strides with fundraising to help fund this future project.
- Concerts in the Park were a popular place to be and enjoy our beautiful park and lakeview.
- Programs were added to engage youth, parents, and seniors to promote more activity and movement in their lives.
- We hosted some of our regular activities at nearby parks for picnics and games when weather permitted.
- The in-house dining program expanded to two days a week and has new meal providers thanks to Cub Foods and Discovery Schools.
- The Bison Fishing Forever and Community Toy Shop groups continued their outreach and saw record numbers of people served.
- We continue to introduce new people to the Buffalo Community Center and look forward to serving more in 2023.
- May was the 2nd Annual Arbor Day Tree Planting event at Sundance Ridge Park. 12 trees were planted throughout the park. Look forward to continuing this annual event in 2023.
- The MN DNR awarded us the Protecting Community Forests Grant. Our first step was a public tree inventory recently completed. Management plans for all trees and an Emerald Ash Borer Plan will be our next step.
- Swan Park construction was completed this Fall and the new pickleball courts and trails will be open this Spring.
- Improvements were made to the main baseball field at Bentfield Mills Park with newly constructed & fenced bullpen areas and the addition of irrigation system in the outfield turf.
- Updates to 2 sections of paved trails and 2 basketball courts were resurfaced.
Free Concerts at Sturges Park Bandshell:
Concerts in the Park series takes place from late June to the end of August and is held at the Sturges Park band shell. These concerts are designed to be fun family events to bring the community together and enjoy summer evenings on Buffalo Lake.
The City of Buffalo Parks & Recreation Department relies solely on donations from the public to book the finest talent for Concerts in the Park. Donations (PDF) are welcome year-round. Concerts are held on Thursday night and begin at 7:00 pm and last until 8:30 pm.
Flora of Buffalo:
Is a beautification program run by city employees and community volunteers. This program could not be possible without the generous donations from residents and businesses in our community. Link to page
Buffalo Fiber Expansion & Growth:
Accomplishments and Wins
- Wright County granted us funs to bring fiber up to Lake Constance from the substation, and to eventually bring fiber more residents along that route.
- Pulled thousands of feet of fiber on our own with the cable puller purchased last year. Machine has paid for itself already and saved the city thousands of dollars.
- We purchased the splicing trailer last year as well, this has paid for itself too and has earned money with splicing projects for the county and other installations, as well as saved thousands with us doing the work instead of hiring it out.
- We had large gains in residential customers with the push in the South side and other areas, we also had large gains in our commercial customers as well.
- Did not win the grant to run fiber to our Water Reclamation Plant which will delay us getting fiber down to it, we haven’t given up on it though.
- Material shortages have made it hard to get materials in a timely manner, lead times on some things are close to a year out.
- Staffing challenges meeting demand of our Fiber Utility’s growth.
Accomplishments and Wins
- Created a redundant loop on the South Side of town by Innsbrook.
- Continual drilling of reconductor or distribution system and putting fiber in new areas
- Buffalo helped the City of Bartow FL during hurricane Ian during a statewide MMUA mutual aid event, sending our Electric Journeyman Supervisor, Shannon Zacharison and Electric Journeyman Travis Fieber.
- Aging equipment needs to be replaced.
- Material shortages, lead times, and drastic rise in cost
Accomplishments and Wins
- Doubling of staff from (1) to (2) = welcome Beth Opheim
- Increased field staff efficiency utilizing existing technology across all utilities, streets, and parks departments.
- Strengthened the City’s Stormwater Management Plan through public involvement and community outreach opportunities.
- Integrating our GIS system to Arc GIS Enterprise to allow for field operations with our City GIS data
- Managing the surge of interest in our Arc GIS Online products that create operational efficiencies.
Water Department Year in Review:
- Water Treatment Plant: The Filter Reconstruction and Media Replacement Project was completed this spring. This project improved our ability to remove 100% of iron & 95% removal of manganese which reduces costs and distribution maintenance.
- Survey123was implemented with our GIS Engineering Dept to gather data in our daily field operations. This is a powerful tool that uses the data gathered to be formed into maps, lists and reports.
- It tracks hydrants flushed and maintenance needed.
- It will be used for a water service line pipe inventory that is required by the EPA for the federal lead line removal program.
- It is being used to gather electric and water meter information to prepare for our AMI RFP.
- Water Tower #2 received a facelift and an inspection. The new coating will last approximately 20 years and extend the life of the water tower.
- The AMR meter replacement in residential homes is 78% complete. The Water Dept and Utility Billing have worked diligently on this project and look forward to its completion in 2023.
- Community Engagement: The preschool Little Sprouts planted the veggie garden raised beds near Discovery Elementary through Buffalo Community Education. The produce they grew was brought to the Buffalo Community Center for all to enjoy. The second group was Girl Scout Troop 18216. They helped revive and care for a pollinator garden that had been planted several years prior through grant funding. The Troop also installed butterfly and mason bee habitat.
- Garden Gathering sessions with the cooperation of the Buffalo Community Center provided opportunity to share information on water conservation, planting drought tolerant landscapes and ways to use less fertilizer and pesticide, in and around our homes.
Drought has been our biggest challenge to find the balance between water use and conservation. Through the City’s efforts, and customer awareness and cooperation, we are working together to protect our precious water resource.
- Collections: Staff Jetted 19.5 miles this summer. We upgraded Lift 24 upgrades with lower wet-end component upgrades- Including pumps and upgraded Lift 14 by the Civic Center with a new panel for communications, Emergency Power hookup and bollard protection.
- Wastewater Treatment: Pre-Treatment upgrades were done, and lining of channels complete. Grit systems will be upgraded when parts are in. Biological phosphorus removal is ongoing, and we are looking for new ways to optimize the process.
- Bios-solids Operations: Stainless extraction conveyor replacement is in process and there is noticeable reduction of solids.
Our new permit is requiring us to monitor for chlorides and there is a high probability this will become a limit. This would require centralized water softening in future. PFAS testing is currently voluntary but will likely become a requirement. New phosphorus regulations may require new filters to be compliant as we near the end of the schedule.
- Hired an excellent internal staff comprised of Jay, Sam, & Steven.
- Implemented security layers for deeper insight, stronger barriers, and notifications for staff to prevent and investigate threats.
- Provided an annual training to staff on Cybersecurity along with monthly live access training to increase cyber awareness, potential threats, and ways to protect our information systems and staff from cyber-attacks.
- Simplification of network will require new hardware, so there will need to be a phased approach due to cost.
- Consistent increase in cyber threats and the dangers of the unknown.
Buffalo Wine & Spirits: 2022 Year in Review
The new, post-Covid pandemic normal generally followed historical patterns—to a point. Spikes in demand have leveled off and sales grew at slight, yet consistent pace. Major supply chain shortages in the first quarter lead to significant price increases in the spring and summer.
Single servings of wine were more popular than ever in 2022. Pints and smaller of liquor continue have historically been our most profitable department, and that will certainly continue into 2023.
Coborn's opening in November 2021 has led to increase in sales. We exceeded $100,000 per week in sales every week from mid-May all the way into September. The holiday season has also produced some record sales at the highway store. Our experience with our new grocery neighbor is a testament to the mantra "Location, Location, Location."
We revamped our website and will launch buffallomnwineandspirits.com in 2023. Our inventory will be completely searchable and shoppable online. In addition to better marketing capabilities, we're also improving our delivery service. We're partnering with DoorDash® to provide this convenience.
I hope that this recap of 2022 helps you understand a little of what the City of Buffalo accomplished last year and what is yet to come in 2023.
Your Mayor, Teri Lachermeier
Buffalo Police Department: 2022 Recap
At BPD, our Mission is to provide people focused public safety. In 2022, the PD logged more than 12,000 incidents throughout the year. This total includes a wide variety of responding to calls for service, traffic violations, and responding to more serious crimes and incidents. The PD also welcomed new patrol and records staff, as well as new volunteers in our Reserve Officer Unit. We also enjoy meeting our residents at various community events and participating in security awareness. at We look forward to continuing to promote safety and serving our city in 2023!
Buffalo Fire Department: 2022 Recap
The BFD would like to thank everyone for all the support they have shown the last year and we wish you a safe 2023.
Busy Year for Buffalo Firefighters
- The new fire station opened in May and a successful open house was held in June. We will continue the tradition with an open house during Buffalo Days again in 2023.
- Five new firefighters joined in 2022! Josh Geslin, Chris Schmidt, Conor Cote, Nick Maloney, and Ryan Wilson have been a great addition to our current roster of 35 firefighters.
- Last year the firefighters put in over 2100 hours of training including fire ground operations, hazmat operations, pumper training, leadership training, medical training, rural water shuttle training, aerial operations, structural fire training, water rescue, grain bin rescue, incident management and more.
- October is Fire Safety Month and we “trained” over 500 elementary and preschool students in fire safety. Look for a fire safety program for senior adults in 2023 as well!
Fire Calls in 2022
- BFD had a 10 percent increase in Fire calls.
- The number of building fires and false alarm calls both doubled in 2022.
- Improper installation or maintenance of heating appliances were the main cause for the increase of building fires. Permits and proper inspections by the code official are required when installing or replacing heating equipment.
- Carbon monoxide calls increased with high levels of carbon monoxide present. Annual inspections on Heating systems and gas appliances are recommended.