Binghamton City Council Work Session Report – 4.22.24

This is a summary of legislation discussed at the Binghamton City Council Work Session on April 22nd, 2024. These Requests for Legislation would be voted on at a later City Council Business Meeting.




4/22 Rules and Procedures/Special Studies Committee Meeting

Request for Legislation 24-65 – Presented by Kenneth Brown: The Fairness and Accountability in Voting and Official Representation Act (FAVOR): A resolution banning Binghamton City Council members from nominating and/or appointing citizens to vacant Binghamton City Council seats who personally, or via their private entity, donated to said City Council Members election campaign

  • Summary: Binghamton resident Kenneth Brown presented this legislation in reaction to the appointment of Michael Kosty, who donated $90 to Mike Dundon’s campaign.
  • My Take: I can sympathize with the liberal crusade to rescue the imagined sanctity of American democracy, but it’s the system that’s corrupt, not the people running it. Take the cronies out of capitalism and you’ll still have capitalism. Corruption whack a mole can be satisfying and redistributive to folks more deserving than downtown developers, but don’t be surprised when everyone rolls their eyes and presses fast forward on the Mr. Brown Goes to Washington routine. Politics are about picking a side and rooting for it. If you’re really on the side of the people then you should be working toward the overthrow of the system, not the purification of it. 

Request for Legislation 24-85 – Presented by a local food truck vendor

  • Summary: Food trucks are currently only allowed downtown between 9 am – 9 pm. This legislation would potentially change that to 9 am – 1 am.

4/22 Work Session

RL 24-79 – Presented by Chuck Shager: An ordinance to amend the 2024 General Fund and Insurance Fund budgets to pay settlement* (EXECUTIVE SESSION)

  • Summary: I assume this was related to an individual city employee, hence the privacy. 
  • My Take: Maybe the City Council should consider moving these private executive sessions to the end of meetings so attendees aren’t stuck waiting around for a half hour.

RL 24-75 – Presented by Billie Goodson: An ordinance to amend the 2024 Budget to increase Professional Services for appraisal services by decreasing Contingency

  • Summary: Sewage Treatment Plant. Reappraisal of property and equipment for insurance purposes. Some confusion over why this funding is being added to the 2024 budget even though it was approved in 2023. Goodson explained that the funding was approved last year by the sewage board but they didn’t submit the purchase order until January 2024.

RL 24-80 – Presented by Juliet Berling: A resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept a CREST grant from DASNY in the amount of $150,000 for renovation of the restrooms and administrative lobby at Ross Park Zoo

RL 24-81 – Presented by Dylan Pelton: A resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept a donation of public art from Caitlyn Davey and James McIlroy. Expedited.

  • Summary: Mural at Confluence Park to be done by a BU grad student. Pictured below.

RL 24-82 – Presented by Stephen Carson: A resolution to hold a public hearing for NYSHCR grant 

  • Summary: North Shore Tower elevator project. Needs proper public notice. Public Hearing scheduled May 8th.

RL24-83 – Presented by Sarah Glose: An ordinance authorizing the sale of 41 Clinton Street to First Ward Action Council for $1

  • Summary: FWAC will construct a ~15 unit apartment building with commercial space on the first floor. Vacant lot.

RL24-84 – Presented by Samantha Costello: A resolution authorizing a special noise variance for Abel’s Pub live music events

  • Summary: Events will go from 7-10 pm. Public hearing set for May 8th.

RL 24-74 – Presented by Michael Dundon: An ordinance to amend Charter Section 26-9 to clarify legislative sign out process

  • Summary: When legislation is approved in committee, it must currently be discussed at the next City Council work session. This would stipulate that it must be discussed at one of the next two work sessions to give the clerks more time to process them. Cavanaugh expressed concern that in a more divided council, the Council president may use this to drag out and manipulate a piece of legislation. Pushed to Rules Committee discussion.

RL 24-77 – Presented by Kinya Middleton: A resolution in support of NY Senate Bill S8622 

  • Summary: There is a mixup in the packet where the language of Senate Bill 8036B is included with descriptions of S8622. I think 8036B was the intended legislation:

RL 24-78 – Presented by Nate Hotchkiss: An ordinance to amend Chapter 400-18 to include exception for impound fees to be earmarked for Youth Programming*

  • Summary: Money from the sale of impounded vehicles currently goes to a BPD vehicle fund. This bill would reroute money from the sale of impounded off-road vehicles and the increased impound fees to fund youth programming. Comptroller Shager and Corporation Counsel Bergman are supposedly working on a new budget line for this so it can be voted on Wednesday with the full increased off-road vehicle punishment legislation. Expedited.
  • My Take: I still think this whole legislation should have been immediately laughed off, but this is a decent compromise. Would be interesting to see if there is a significant drop-off in impounded vehicles once that money stops going to the cops. Kosty’s argument that “the cops are doing the work, so they should get the money,” is ridiculous, but I’m glad he’s admitting the police are happy to enrich themselves at the expense of young people. If we give resources to young people then they might not resort to crime and then cops will be out work. Can’t have that!

RL24-59 An ordinance to amend the 2019 and 2020 HUD admin & housing budget for consolidation of unused lines for spending on housing program

  • Summary: This would take unused Covid relief money (not ARPA) and pool it all into a single fund to be used for First Ward Action Council projects.

RL 24-60 A resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with the First Ward Action Council for use CVY45 and CVY46 CDBG funds in an amount not to exceed $577,190 to support the development of affordable housing

  • Summary: This resolution would transfer the money to First Ward Action Council.

RL 24-71 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

  • Summary: This is the Mark Yonaty/Owen Blye/Jared Kraham 1 North Depot project discussed at the Finance Committee meeting last week. City Council must either support this project or the city will not receive $3 million from the Restore NY fund. This is a half-baked preliminary proposal and everyone admits that the project will need many more tax breaks and infusions of public money to actually be completed.
  • My Take: The city needs affordable housing, not luxury housing. Also: I’m no development expert but I don’t see how these public-private partnerships are preferable to non-profit or publicly managed projects. If we’re going to pour public money into every private development, why not cut out the parasite profiteers, create an elected City Developer position and have all the rental profits go back to the general fund? I assume it’s probably because a Mayor can’t take the short-term political hit on a large outlay of funds that will only pay off in the long-term. Also the free market, entrepreneurial spirit, blah blah blah. 

RL 24-72 A resolution supporting Broome County’s application for funding from Empire State Development Corporation Restore New York Communities Initiative Round 8

  • Summary: First Ward Action Council is looking to acquire the same $3 million in Restore NY funding but Broome County is applying on their behalf.

RL 24-73 A Bond Ordinance for the improvement of the TPS (Terminal Pump System) at the Joint Sewage Treatment Plant

  • Summary: Interest-free bond will be used to upgrade filtration equipment to cope with the increased use of “flushable” wipes which clog up the system.

RL 24-76 A prepayment to municipalities for credits based on the 2023 final estimated flows at 85% of estimated final flows in the amount of $4,016,955.99 with the remaining to be paid upon ratification by sewage board of final bill

  • Summary: Treatment Plant overestimates amount of flow so municipalities overpay. That money isn’t rebated back for almost a year. This legislation would immediately rebate the bulk of the money with the remaining differences resolved later.

See you tonight at 6:00 for voting and public comment.

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