Binghamton City Council Business Meeting Report – 4.24.24

Happy International Workers Day! This is a summary of legislation voted on at the 4/24/24 Binghamton City Council Business Meeting. Plus upcoming events.





1. The City of Binghamton will hold a Public Hearing regarding RL 24-82 A resolution to hold a public hearing for NYSHCR grant

2. The City of Binghamton will hold a Public Hearing regarding RL24-84 A resolution authorizing a special noise variance for Abel’s Pub live music events

  • These Public Hearings will take place at 6PM during the May 8, 2024 regular City Council Business Meeting in City Council Chambers, 38 Hawley Street, Binghamton NY. Residents wishing to participate in Public Hearings may do so electronically by emailing their comments prior to 1:00PM on the day of the meeting to or in-person during the meeting.


  • No timestamping on the video for this meeting. Multiple typos in the agenda. Clerk’s office is slipping.

Public Hearing regarding RL24-71 “A resolution authorizing the City of Binghamton to submit an application for funding from Empire State Development Corporation Restore New York Communities Initiative Round 8.” This is the One North Depot proposal by Mark Yonaty and Owen Blye. The city is applying for $3 million in Restore NY funding to get it started.

Rebecca Rathmell (former and possibly future District 6 Councilperson) argued that the Restore NY program requires that the funding must “demonstrate alignment with municipal goals” and that, while the Mayor’s prerogative is luxury housing and appeasing a “tight circle of developer elites,” the majority of Binghamtonians want more affordable housing. Some more info and assertions via Rathmell:

  • Binghamton has one of the lowest affordable housing availability rates in the state for extremely low income households.
  • 800 local residents accessed emergency housing last year
  • Per HUD, “market rate” housing would actually be 900-1100 per month, not 1600-2200, which the Yonaty/Blye proposal is estimating for rent. 
  • Kraham justified the proposal by saying there is a waitlist for luxury housing at 50 Front Street. There are thousands of residents on the waitlist for affordable housing with a 24 month average wait time. 

Christopher Scott spoke about the housing crisis and how developers and investors are benefiting from it. 

Marcia Gates spoke about the need for affordable housing. As an employment professional, Gates spoke about clients who can’t get jobs because they can’t secure housing. 1600 rent at 1⁄3 of income would require 58k/year. 2200 rent would require 80k/year. Gates said there were 300 unhoused children in the Binghamton school district in 2022 and 2023.

Salka Valerio from Citizen Action said she considers herself a young professional and 950 for two bedrooms is too high. She said there are no amenities downtown to attract people who can afford luxury rates. She said there 335 children being housed in local hotels and that the Del Motel is expanding to provide even more emergency housing.

Oren Levy said we need lower taxes for builders to increase supply. “Landlords don’t want to mess with people who don’t pay and then it’s hard to evict them.”

Christopher Perez spoke about his experiences as a social worker and being shocked by the high number of unhoused people in Binghamton. He spoke about Broome County removing eighteen people from the bus station to keep up appearances and called on politicians to think of themselves as parents with a moral responsibility to care for their constituents. He also called out the money being wasted on clearing out encampments.

Tarik Abdelazim (former Deputy Mayor) talked about the affordable housing crisis (“it’s everywhere”) and how the “free market” won’t solve it. Abdelazim pointed out that the One North Depot project would be right next to a condominium where Yonaty owns three units and lives in one of them. He estimated a 30% chance the county will get awarded funds for First Ward Action Council but that there would be a 99% chance of being awarded the money if the city applies for FWAC instead of Yonaty. He recalled that Binghamton was the first to utilize the Restore NY program in 06-08 and that the Ryan administration went to neighborhood assemblies to ask what the city should use the money for. He said the answer back then was dealing with vacant properties.

John Solak claimed that former Binghamton mayor Juanita Crabb did more for housing than any mayor after her. He called her the most successful mayor in Binghamton history because all her projects are still being funded (the baseball stadium, boscovs, and townhouses on Clinton Street). Solak argued that the only way to lower rent is to build more single family homes which would free up the rental market and allow residents to build equity, like with the new tiny homes for veterans program. 


Tarik Abdelazim reiterated his desire for a citywide property reassessment, which hasn’t happened since 1993. 

  • Abdelazim cited some examples of horrible assessments:
    • 20 Hawley St assessed at 5.2 Million. Sold for 22.7 Million. 
    • 40 Court St assessed at 291k. Sold for 1.5 million. 
    • 47 Carroll St, an 18 bed student rental assessed at 62k. 

Oren Levy called Councilman Porter ignorant and antisemitic for saying “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter.” Levy compared Hamas to the KKK and called them “murderous raping beasts.”

(Inaudible Name) Listed names of Israeli hostages.

Misty Kirby condemned the dehumanizing language and hate speech used by Oren Levy. “The oppressed eventually rise.” Kirby supports citywide reassessment and taxing commercial rentals fairly. She was disappointed to not see funding for The Southern Door CLT or DAR developers on the agenda. Kirby works in a school where 15% of children are unhoused. 

John Solak wants the city to abolish blue bags, saying the money to offset garbage costs could be added as a tax to water bills. He complained that Rich David is paying $0 in taxes this year on his new downtown bar and mentioned the scandal involving Mayor David applying for a STAR tax exemption.

Matt Ryan thinks the council should hold off on approving the $3 million grant application since there’s money coming soon from the state budget. Ryan predicts that Restore NY will likely only approve one of the two grants (city or county). 


Introductory Local Law LL24-01. An Ordinance to amend Chapter 400, Vehicles and Traffic, adding the prohibition of operation of off-road vehicles in the City of Binghamton. Passed 7-0

  • Amendment: $2000 fee to reclaim impounded vehicles changed to $1000. Passed 6-1 (Kosty dissenting)
  • Amendment: At the first work session in August of each year the chief of police or his designee shall report to City Council on the number of arrests and impoundments under this section of the law. Passed 7-0

Introductory Ordinance O24-29. An Ordinance to amend the Code of the City of Binghamton, Chapter 400-18, to add a budget line for impound fees for ATVs. Passed 7-0 

  • This creates a budget line for youth programming – apparently still under the police budget – where impound fee payments will be funneled.

Introductory Ordinance O24-27. An Ordinance to amend O24-21 Sections E and F

to make clear that all payments will be deducted first from New York State pensions. Passed 7-0

Introductory Ordinance O24-28. An Ordinance to reformat R23-92 to meet NYS

Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Environmental Protection Fund resolution requirements. Passed 7-0

Introductory Ordinance O24-30. An Ordinance to amend the 2024 General Fund budget to pay settlement. Passed 6-0 (Mativetsky abstained)

Introductory Resolution R24-26. A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter Supplemental Agreement No. 2 with GHD Consulting Services. Passed 7-0

Introductory Resolution R24-27. A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept a grant from the Broome County Small for $25,000 for a mural at Mirabito Stadium. Passed 7-0

Introductory Resolution R24-28. A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept a grant from the DOE for $76,690 for purchase of electric vehicles. Passed 6-1 (Dundon dissenting)

Introductory Resolution R24-29. A Resolution authorizing the Mayor, or his designee, is hereby authorized to accept a donation of public art from Caitlin Davey and James McIllroy. Passed 7-0

Introductory Resolution R24-30. A Resolution to support New York State Assembly Bill S8036B. Passed 6-0 (Kosty Abstained)

See you all on Monday for the next City Council Work Session.

Here’s an event happening tonight on campus:

And one happening this weekend:

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