Tax Cuts Highlight Binghamton Mayor David's Proposed 2018 BudgetPosted: Updated:
Tax cuts are one of four main promises being proposed in Binghamton Mayor Rich David's 2018 Budget. If passed, residential taxes will decrease 2.26% and commercial taxes will go down by 1.66%. This means a savings of $53 for homes assessed at $100,000.
"Residents and the taxpayers of the City of Binghamton have much to celebrate with this proposed budget," said Mayor David.
He expects the City's property tax levy to be $387,000 less than it was in 2014 when he first took office.
In addition, the current Mayor is focusing his efforts on public safety, infrastructure, and debt payment.
"These are things that haven't been done in the past, so to accomplish all of these things in one year, I think is significant," said Mayor David.
His proposal includes two new police officer positions to focus on neighborhood patrolling. According to David, he has added a total of nine police officers to the BPD since taking office.
Mayor David is also putting aside $8.1 million for infrastructure improvements including street reconstruction and bridge repairs.
He is also planning to pay down the City's debt for the third-straight year. He wants to pay down $4.8 million in debt principal, while only borrowing $4 million. This would result in an $800,000 decrease in the debt, which David believes this will lead to a $260,000 savings in interest and fees over the next decade.
"Now we're able to take a major step forward in 2018, while also reducing our debt, while also eliminating the pink sticker, while creating reserve accounts to ensure and protect taxpayers from future spikes in health costs and pension costs and also add cops to the street, while maintaining our commitment to infrastructure," said Mayor David.
Around three dozen people showed up to hear the Mayor speak and most of the room applauded every few minutes in approval, but not everyone is sold on David's budget just yet. His challenger, Democratic Candidate for Binghamton Mayor, Tarik Abdelazim says Mayor David's speech was "theatrical."
"Tonight was the theater, but as many know behind the rhetoric and the stagecraft, the facts often tell a different story," said Abdelazim.
He adds that David's proposal is omitting some of the changes that residents are hoping for.
"There are many residents that are sick and tired of slumlords and out-of-town investors ruining their neighborhoods, I heard no strategies beyond demolition and many residents are concerned about floods, so we'll see if there's a nickel budget for that and if he has a plan," said Abdelazim.
Abdelazim says he plans to review "all 250 pages of the document" before making any judgments.
Despite the opposition from the Democratic Candidate, Mayor David seems confident his Budget will pass.
"I expect that this budget will be unanimously approved in a bipartisan fashion by Binghamton City Council," said Mayor David.
David says the City Council will host a series of public hearings over the course of the next two weeks to gather resident opinion on the proposal.
You can read Mayor David's full speech below: