Binghamton City Council Work Session Report – 3.11.2024

This is a summary of legislation discussed at the Binghamton City Council Work Session on March 11th, 2024. These Requests for Legislation would be voted on at the City Council Business Meeting on March 27th.




RL24-47 Amend the 2024 Parks budget to pay a responsibility adjustment to Acting Parks Commissioner until 4/21/2024 

  • Summary: “Moving the money temporarily until we fill the position or they (departing Commissioner Pat McGinnis) return, whichever happens first.” – Kent Drake-Dreese, Personnel Director.
  • My Take: Money to cover payroll for increased duties carried out by the interim Parks Commissioner ($2,392.32). Apparently the mayor is still holding out hope McGinnis will return to the position, so the interim stays interim until April.

RL24-48 An ordinance amending the Code of the City of Binghamton, Chapter 124 Section 26, to update eligibility for retiree health insurance 

  • Summary: At some point around 2009, Binghamton changed the rules for city employees to qualify for retiree health insurance. The rule is currently that you need 20 years of service to qualify. This legislation supposedly adds clarification to that rule. Kraham said this legislation would benefit “a handful of Teamsters plus one person at the Fire Department.” He also brought up a hypothetical situation of an 8 year NYPD veteran transferring to Binghamton and said this legislation would address whether that cop would need twelve years of service or twenty years to qualify.
  • My Take: Seems like the mayor and comptroller have been trying to avoid paying health insurance to some retirees on a technicality but the unions are putting pressure on them. The council seems skeptical that this will clarify the issue once and for all. I don’t want my taxes to be paying for health insurance for any NYPD officers, especially not one who worked here for five years before retiring with twenty “accumulated” years.

RL24-49 Modify the Treasurer budget along with the salary and classification of the Treasurer position 

  • Summary: The city claims to be having difficulty attracting quality candidates for the City Treasurer position. The position currently pays $58,000/year. This legislation would raise that to $75,000/year. “Acting Treasurer” until the end of 2025 (he’s listed on the city website as Assistant Comptroller), Chuck Robinson could apply for this higher salary position.
  • My Take: I tried looking up treasurer salaries for similarly sized cities but didn’t have much luck. Albany has a population of 100,000 (Binghamton has 47,000) and their treasurer makes $105,000/year.

RL24-50 Correct the tax rolls for the 2024 tax warrant for various City properties (*Expedition requested) 

  • Summary: As noted in the previous RL, the city does not have a treasurer. What we do have, says Comptroller Chuck Shager, is three employees in the Comptroller’s office (including Robinson, presumably) who are combining to do the work of a treasurer. These employees messed up the tax bill for twenty-five city properties and this RL will supposedly correct those mistakes, all of which Shager described as “overcollections.” Shager said errors like these happen every year but this year was particularly bad. 
  • My Take: Convenient that the city could pair this big list of errors with a request for a higher treasurer salary. I would like to know how the city (or county, since they collect taxes for the city) caught these errors. 

RL24-51 Amend the 2024 Capital Budget to close serial bond accounts no longer active.

  • Summary: Identifying expenses that were budgeted but will not need to be bonded (borrowed from the bank).

Finally, here’s a report from past/future District 6 councilperson Rebecca Rathmell, regarding the Salvation Army’s pending exile from downtown:

“I spoke with Kevin, head volunteer at the Salvation Army breakfast, as well as several folks attending breakfast. Per Kevin, they see about 50 persons every day for breakfast; that number increases to about 75 towards the end of each month and doubles during the summer because people bring their children. Most guests live on Susquehanna, Exchange, Hawley, etc. or are unhoused. Per guests, a trek to Walnut St. for those who are healthy and mobile adds additional time but is mostly just an inconvenience. A number of older or disabled guests, however, confirmed they would not be able to make the trek to Walnut so would simply not have a breakfast option. Overall consensus is that if this meal site shuts down another on this side of town must go up.”

The city council is voting tonight on whether to give the Salvation Army $100,000 to set up a new kitchen on Walnut Street.

Agenda for tonight’s Business Meeting – 3/13/24

See you tonight for a lot of voting plus public comment.

Scroll to Top