Binghamton City Council Business Meeting Report – 4.10.24

Counterpoint: No it wasn’t.

This is a summary of legislation voted on at the 4/10/24 Binghamton City Council Business Meeting. Plus a report on the recent Finance Committee Meeting.





  • Planning Committee (Hotchkiss): New First Ward Action Council properties and possible funding for a proposed renovation of 1 North Depot Street by Owen Blye and Mark Yonaty.
  • Water Street Development Corporation (Hotchkiss): Winding down. Funding will return to the city for completion of the parking garage.
  • Binghamton-JC Joint Sewage Treatment Plant (Hotchkiss): City may be taking out a large bond to replace part of the Johnson City system ($3-6 Million). Needed to address increased use of “flushable” wipes. (Discussed during first half of the 4/11 Finance Committee Meeting)
  • Binghamton Local Development Corporation (Cavanaugh): Binghamton Business Plan Competition is underway. 
  • Commission on Architecture & Urban Design (Cavanaugh): Two possible projects:
    • Public Art under bridge at Confluence Park, including public bulletin board space 
    • Extending State Street development to Henry Street and Washington Street
  • Community Development Advisory Committee (Middleton): Working out budget.
  • Traffic Board (Mativetsky): Public can add items to agenda. Next meeting is in May.
  • Commission for the Conservation of the Environment (Mativetsky): First meeting was held Thursday.


The City of Binghamton will hold a 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 Public Hearing will take place at 6PM during the April 24, 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.
  • My take: This is state funding that was discussed in the recent Planning Committee Meeting for Owen Blye and Mark Yonaty to renovate 1 North Depot St. The current owner (Josh Bishop) made a PILOT agreement with the city to renovate the building but never actually completed the project. Bishop is part of the Rich David extended corruption universe as detailed here. Yonaty lives at 1 North Depot and is also connected to the RDECU. He recently tried and failed to develop student housing at the corner of Main and State and partnered on a short-lived fried chicken restaurant with the Colonial owners. He owns the Goldsmith, he opened the Courtside Grille in the old Colonial property, he owned the recently closed Social on State, he ran Buffy’s Burritos into the ground, and he’s also supposedly opening a steakhouse in the Lackawanna Train Station. Yonaty also once sued someone for saying he’s gay. Apparently these business geniuses are our best and brightest developers and will keep getting opportunities to take public money and dump it into half-baked ventures no matter how many times they fuck up. I guess Jared Kraham needs their help to realize his dream of turning Binghamton into a paradise for Young Professionals who are willing to pay $2200 a month to live next to railroad tracks.


Public Hearing regarding RL24-17 “An Ordinance to amend Chapter 410 to address below-grade amenity spaces in multiple-unit dwellings”

  • No one commented


Over thirty Binghamton residents submitted comments and spoke in favor of the Ceasefire Resolution. Two non-Binghamton residents spoke against it. Many commenters also highlighted the need for affordable housing and connected the lack of funding for housing to the billions of dollars we send to Israel every year.


Introductory Resolution R24-25. A Resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Passed 7-0

  • My take: The Israeli apartheid state is propped up by the United States to serve as a frontline for our imperial ventures in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The genocide we’re funding in Gaza is 100% a US issue and should be addressed at all levels of government. That being said, there was a lot of talk at the meeting both by commenters and council members about this being a symbolic gesture. City Council members phrased this in terms of “Hey don’t get mad at us, it’s just symbolic. It’s a humanitarian issue not a political one!” Public commenters phrased it in terms of “Hey our expectations for political action are practically nonexistent! It’s just symbolic, why not go ahead and do it?” There was very little talk, if any, about what a non-symbolic gesture might look like and what the next steps could be to achieve more concrete gains on the issue. Everyone applauded, clapped themselves on the back for a job barely done, and went home to look at mutilated corpses on their phones. There was an odd disconnect between everyone celebrating the action while also dismissing it, and I think this mostly has to do with a lack of alternatives. Rallies are symbolic, marches are symbolic, ceasefire resolutions are symbolic, mutual aid is largely symbolic if it can’t scale up to replace traditional NGOs or the functions of the State. So where is the serious, long-term anticapitalist, anticolonial organizing happening locally that can build non-symbolic power? I think until we stop settling for Any Action is Good Action and start organizing strategically, organizing long-term, organizing in large numbers, and organizing collectively with a diversity of tactics, then symbolic electoral victories will remain a sad little beacon of hope in a darkening world. 

Introductory Local Law LL24-01. Chapter 400, Vehicles and Traffic, adding the prohibition of operation of off-road vehicles in the City of Binghamton An ordinance amending Chapter 400 of the City Charter, Vehicles and Traffic, adding the prohibition of operation of off-road vehicles in the City of Binghamton. Heldover to next Business Meeting

  • The City Council didn’t vote on this yet because they’re adding language to make sure electric bikes aren’t criminalized and that funds from selling expropriated vehicles go to youth programs instead of the cops.

Introductory Ordinance O24-25. Considered in Employees: Porter An Ordinance to amend the 2024 Fire budget to pay fire mechanic from Fire budget moving from CSEA Union to Fire Union effective 1/1/2024 with retroactive salary increase. Passed 7-0

Introductory Ordinance O24-26. Considered in Planning: Hotchkiss An Ordinance to amend the 2024 budget for the demolition of a fire-damaged property at 122 Henry. Passed 6-0 (Dundon recused)

Introductory Resolution R24-24. Considered in Finance: Cavanaugh A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with Harding Brooks Agency for the City for Workers Compensation Insurance. Passed 7-0

Finance Committee Meeting (Video)

Comptroller Quarterly Reports

  • Chuck Shager responded to questions from city council members about the ARPA balance. Shager apparently gave the city council a botched spreadsheet which led to the miscommunication over whether there’s any money left in the fund. He confirmed that all the money is allocated, but not spent. The city allocated into the negative assuming some of the money would go unspent. His quote was, “we haven’t overspent, we’ve over-allocated.” He explained that with some of the projects, he’s been reimbursing contractors rather than giving them a lump sum, so the numbers are in flux. 
  • Shager also gave a very quick estimate of the city’s total debt ($185-200 million), most of which ($135 million) he said is the result of Joint Sewage Treatment Plant costs that will ultimately be split with Johnson City.
  • Next steps: Shager promised to have an updated ARPA spreadsheet and a finished quarterly report by the first City Council meeting in May.

And now the news…

Binghamton City Council passes resolution in favor of Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Divest from Death coalition backs pro-BDS resolution

Protest Outside of BAE Systems Against Weapons Contractors

“Tax the Rich” Protest Held in Binghamton

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