Binghamton City Council Work Session Report – 5.20.24

This is a summary of legislation discussed at the Binghamton City Council Work Session on May 20th, 2024. These Requests for Legislation would be voted on at a later City Council Business Meeting.




RL 24-95 – A Resolution for a Clean City Initiative. Presented by John Solak, Binghamton Resident.

  • Summary: Solak is proposing that blue bags be abolished starting January 2025. His resolution leaves the Mayor to figure out how to make up the revenue that would be lost every year (around $1 Million). Solak compared the blue bag policy to a smoke alarm that only calls the fire department if you’ve paid your bills for it. He suggests we copy Johnson City’s policy and add a tax to water bills. 
  • My take: Abolish the blue! The bags are low quality, difficult to access, and expensive. Would be much simpler to implement as a tax, ideally a progressive one. I used to work downtown and many of the frat houses there never even used the blue bags, but their massive piles of trash were picked up just fine. It’s an unfair system.

RL 24-101 – A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter into an agreement with Brown and Caldwell Associates in an amount not to exceed $149,855. Expedited. Presented by Jeff Kruger, Water Superintendent and Matt Marko, Brown and Caldwell Associates. 

  • Summary: The Environmental Protection Agency did an inspection of the Binghamton Water and Sewer Department and found some issues. The city’s water wasn’t compromised, it was just some administrative problems. We would be hiring Brown and Caldwell to consult the city on updating and maintaining equipment. 

RL 24-100 – An Ordinance to rescind R23-92 and O24-28*. Expedited. Presented by Juliet Berling, Director of Planning.

  • Summary: Rescinding legislation and changing the format as demanded by NY State.

RL 24-99 – A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to accept a grant from NYS OPRHP for the Ross Park Trail Project*. Expedited. Presented by Juliet Berling, Director of Planning.

  • Summary: Re-submitting the legislation discussed in RL 24-100.

Discussion on Climate Action Plan. Presented by Juliet Berling, Director of Planning.

  • Summary: Presentation of the Climate Action Resiliency Plan as constructed by the Planning Commission. Last plan was made in 2011. Community input was based on tabling at Broome County Farmers Market and Trucks on the Tracks. The entire plan can be seen in the meeting packet link at the top of this article. Some excerpts:

RL24-86 – An ordinance to amend the official zoning map to rezone a portion of Clinton Street and Mygatt Street. Presented by Tito Martinez, Assistant Planning Director.

  • Summary: Rezoning to open up spaces for mixed-use/residential housing. Rezoning 2 Titchener so it can be used for light industrial use. 41 Clinton street is being rezoned for the FWAC project, which initiated this broader rezoning. According to Martinez: “We should do a citywide rezoning at some point.”

RL 24-96 – An Ordinance to amend the Code of the City of Binghamton, Chapter 410, Zoning, Article VII, Section 410. Presented by Hadassah Mativetsky and Robert Cavanaugh, City Councilmembers.

  • Summary: Setting up an appeals process for rezoning. The City Council is looking into  zoning for social services, specifically shelters and warming/cooling stations. Discussed below in the Planning Committee recap. Returned to Committee. 

RL 24-98 – A Resolution authorizing the Binghamton Pride Coalition to conduct a fireworks display on 6/8/2024*. Expedited. Presented by Samantha Costello, Deputy Clerk.

  • Summary: Fireworks will be launched off a floating platform in the Susquehanna River by the Peacemakers Stage.

RL 24-97 – A Local Law to establish Responsible Bidder requirements on Public Works projects. Presented by Michael Dundon and Kinya Middleton, City Councilmembers. Dundon recused. 

  • Summary: This law would be using Erie County’s framework, which Councilman Dundon said has stood up in court. No bidder would be turned away. Could be constructed to privilege local contractors. Violations could cause contractors to be banned 6 months to indefinitely. Examples given by councilmembers: Collier Street garage and Rec Park tennis courts were full of setbacks and cost overruns. According to Dundon, business as usual for the city is to always accept the lowest bidder. City could collect damages from contractors who do shoddy work and start a database to track repeat offenders and inform future contract decisions in our community and others.

RL 24-102 – An Ordinance to amend the City of Binghamton Charter § 26-3. Inspection of City departments, bureaus and institutions. Presented by Nate Hotchkiss, Councilmember.

  • Summary: This ordinance would be intended to make more information available to the city council. Corporation counsel said this might potentially violate privacy laws. Councilmembers suggested this concern could be mitigated by confidentiality training. Example from Mativetsky: Dundon wanted info on snow removal to respond to constituents and was told to redirect constituents to DPW instead. Example from Cavanaugh: Climate Action Plan only presented to city council at the very end of the process with no input from the city council.

RL 24-103 – An Ordinance to authorize City Council to manage and develop intern programs at City Hall. Presented by Nate Hotchkiss, Councilmember.

  • Summary: Hotchkiss was approached by students who want to intern for the city council.

5.14 – Planning Committee Meeting

  • RL 24-96 (See above)
    • Summary: City Council is submitting this legislation to make Social Services “permitted by right in urban business park districts.” ACBC rents space at 15 Charles Street, which is zoned as an urban business park district. That zoning prevents them from carrying out certain social services. They applied for a special permit to provide a warming center at the building but were denied. There was an outcry from residents in the neighborhood and the Planning Commission said they would not approve a warming center for that location “under any circumstances,” so the city council is looking for options to work around them. No permits are required in churches or existing social services facilities but council members were told that churches are at capacity. Current Planning Commission appointees:

See you all Wednesday at the city council business meeting for voting and public comment, including a speak out calling for the termination of BPD Officer Brad Kaczynski, who can be seen choking a handcuffed suspect in newly released body cam footage: Video footage of Jan. 1, 2023 arrest

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