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City Council Weighs Background Check Legislation for City Housing

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

City Council held its first meeting Monday night about possible legislation that would require criminal background checks to rent or buy property in the City of Binghamton.

"This is the first draft of the bill," said Councilman Giovanni Scaringi.

"It will evolve in a much more positive way to earn even more broader support than it already has and I'm very excited for it."

It's called the Neighborhood Integrity Protection Act. 

Former Councilman Anthony Massar requested it be put into law as part of a plan to tackle crime and blight in city neighborhoods. 

According to Massar, landlords will be responsible for the background checks, but the tenants themselves will pay for them, in most cases as part of an application fee. 

Massar said it shouldn't cost more than twelve dollars per check, however some council members are uncomfortable with it. 

"We pay enough taxes in the city as it is, and so do the landlords and so do the realtors, so why keep adding on and adding on to these people and charging them more money? I can't go along with that part," said Councilman John Matzo.

Another concern some council members had was the possibility of drug users being penalized for their addiction. 

Councilwoman Dani Cronce says she's looked into this. 

 "People who have drug addictions are protected and cannot be discrminated against by law but drug pushers and drug manufacturers can be discrimnated and that is who our target is," she said.
 
City Council said it will have its corporate office look at the early draft of the proposed legislation.

Fox 40 will you updated on what happens next.