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Broome County Votes to Accept State Funding for Drug Treatment Facility

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The Broome County Legislature voted on Wednesday evening to accept $2.7 million from New York State in order to fund a new Drug Treatment Facility in Binghamton. An overwhelming 11-to-4 majority voted in favor of the resolution, including every Democrat and all but four Republicans.

"I feel relieved to know that we are moving in a very positive direction and we have taken action to save lives right here in Broome County," said Jason Garnar, Broome County Executive.

He called the vote "a victory for everyone in Broome County" and is thankful for everyone who helped get this project off the ground.

"This is going to save lives and this is a victory for people that need help in Broome County," said Garnar.

Among the 11 who voted yes, was Democrat Mark Kaminsky who has been a vocal supporter of the facility and an advocate for organizations such as Truth Pharm and Southern Tier Aids Prevention.

"Broome County has a major crisis going on and it's much bigger than people realize," said Kaminsky "I think if you don't see it then maybe you don't know but this is a big problem and this is great for our community, it's wonderful."

Despite the outcome going in her favor, the Legislator for District 14 says she wishes the county could've done more to help others who are suffering from a drug addiction. 

"I know that for some of the people in the audience, the vote came too late for their family members and the people there who have lost their children," said Kaminsky. "While I'm thrilled to have it, I'm also kind of sad that we didn't have some other resource before because we have lost so many."

Republicans Cindy O'Brien, Michael Sopchak Jr., Majority Leader Stephen Flagg, and Chairman Dan Reynolds all voted against the resolution.

"We want to make sure we have the services available for them but there was some information that was not available to us about the fiscal impact, the impact to the community, and we still had some questions about the sizing of the facility," said Reynolds. Both Flagg and Reynolds have been open about their opposition to the size and possible negative economic impact of the project.

Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare expects to have the the former Broome Developmental Center transformed into the new Drug Treatment Facility and open by April 1, 2018.