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David Delivers 2019 Budget Address

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On Wednesday, Binghamton Mayor Rich David delivered the 2019 Budget Address before members of Binghamton City Council, calling for a one percent tax cut for residents and a .5 percent deduction for businesses.

In his $94.7 million spending plan, David also proposed an overhaul of the Binghamton Police Department headquarters, located in City Hall. He said the "nerve center" for public safety officers had become non-functional.

"That's why we will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to overhaul and improve police headquarters in 2019," said David.

David also announced a study that will look into what impact a new consolidated fire station to replace two aging departments would have on response time, insurance rates, and cost. 

"When it comes to public safety, it's best to make decisions based on careful study and a variety of factors, not strictly financial benefit," said David.

Police and Fire continue to make up the bulk of the city's $64.6 million General Fund budget, representing 71.9 percent of it. 

David credited several federal and state grants for new gear and technology for public safety. 

"$50,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will support the Binghamton Police Department’s K-9 explosive detection unit with a new dog, training and equipment," said David. "$100,000 from Homeland Security will be used to provide new equipment and training for the multi-agency Metro SWAT team, which includes officers from Binghamton, Vestal and Johnson City."

David also announced that the city is applying for a $12 million grant to improve Main Street from Front Street to the Johnson City line. 

"I expect a funding announcement early next year, and if awarded, we'd begin a rigorous two-year planning and design process. Construction could begin by 2021," said David. 

Unlike previous years, pension and health insurance costs are expected to stay flat.

For the second year in a row, David wants to put $500,000 in reserves to offset future rate hikes.

Binghamton is also expecting a $178,000 increase in federal CDBG funding next year, which will help pay for his administration's War on Blight. It will also support infrastructure improvements, including $112,000 to upgrade city parks.

According to David, successful projects like LUMA and Downtown's thriving restaurant scene helped bring in $11.2 million in sales tax revenue. 

As for city parking, he said construction on 7 Hawley Street is set to begin later this Fall. 

The mixed-use commercial and residential development will open up more than 300 parking spots. 

David's budget will now go to the city council for review.