State of the County Address

 

Preston Delivers Vision for Future of Broome County

 

Binghamton, NY – Broome County Executive Debbie Preston outlined her vision for the future of Broome County in her annual State of the County Address tonight.

 

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We all have a stake in the future of the County and we need to work together to realize our potential,” says Preston.  “We can’t do this alone. We need the help of our Legislature, our business community and the residents of Broome County. “

After outlining a number of accomplishments from her first two years in office, Preston outlined plans for the coming year, including:

-          Implementing Comprehensive Plan;

-          Continued Conservative Budgeting;

-          Being Proactive for Emergency Preparedness;

-          Partnering With Municipalities and the People; and

-          Improving Housing and Fighting Blight.

 

 

Implementing the Comprehensive Plan that was released in December 2013 is a major focus for the upcoming year. It calls for the County to develop shovel ready sites for businesses.  Preston will accomplish this through a $10 million project to install water and sewer to the Airport/Landfill Corridor, opening up over 1,000 acres for development.  Additionally, the County’s new Land Bank will redevelop old sites in our area to entice new businesses and get the properties back on the tax rolls. To better market the area and attract new businesses, Preston will partner with the Industrial Development Agency and local business owners.  The expansion of broadband internet access through the Southern Tier Network will also help make these sites more enticing to new business development.

 

 

 

 

Conservative Budgeting

Under Preston’s leadership, Broome County saw its credit rating increase by the leading bond credit agency in the world, Moody’s, which will lead to lower borrowing costs in the future. The County also recently finished successful negotiations with the Transit Employees Union, working out a contract that rewards the workers for their service without breaking the backs of the taxpayers.  Preston and her team plan to negotiate similar contracts with the other seven unions that represent County employees that are more favorable to taxpayers than previous contracts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being prepared for the next flood or natural disaster is a major goal for the future.  Through the Office of Energy Development, the County has undertaken a porous pavement project at the Public Safety Facility that will reduce the risk of flooding.  The County is also working with the Broome-Tioga Stormwater Coalition to minimize the damage of flooding on local communities.  The biggest piece of Preston’s vision is acquiring a portion of the former Army Depot in the Town of Fenton from the Federal Government.  The County would use the property as a multi-use facility.  It could be a regional shelter to house people in the event of a natural disaster and as a regional training facility for not only Broome County’s Emergency Services and Sheriff’s Offices, but also for other EMS and law enforcement offices in the region.

 

 

 

 

“Broome County is more than just a building on Hawley Street,” says Preston.  “It’s the City, Towns and Villages, the 200,000 people who live here.”

 

 

 

 

Preston is working with the Department of Social Services, Code Enforcement, Real Property Department and the Health Department to improve housing conditions and fight blight in the urban core of the County.  The Broome County Health Department is working to remove lead from over 100 housing units in the City of Binghamton, making those homes safer for children.  Getting homes up to code is also a major goal in 2014.  Using the Spiegel Act, and working with local municipalities, the Department of Social Services will start withholding rent to bad landlords until they come into compliance with Code regulations.

 

 

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“We need to work together to continue to build on the foundation before us,” says Preston.  “When we work together, we can make this a better community to live, work and raise a family.”

Improving Housing and Fighting Blight

Preston has made it a mission to partner with the City of Binghamton, as well as the Towns and Villages of Broome County. The County has partnered with some local municipalities to secure funds to improve Main Street Corridors, including a $1 million infrastructure project in Deposit.  There are also several proposals to share services between the County and local municipalities while Preston will continue migrating back to a 50/50 split in sales tax revenue. She also continues to urge local leaders, as well as the people of Broome County, to visit her Open Office Hours every Tuesday morning to voice their concerns and ideas for the future of Broome County.

Working Together

“This is a long term project and we’ll need to dedicate real resources to renovate this facility,” says Preston.  “This will ensure the future safety of our residents.  This simply cannot be ignored.”

Emergency Preparedness

Preston will also continue to replace B.C. Transit busses and machinery in the highway department on a regular and planned basis, replacing outdated equipment that could be costly to replace in large quantities.

“We need to do business in a more cost efficient manner,” says Preston.  “By negotiating new contracts, we will be saving money for the taxpayers.  We plan to sit down with the other unions in the County to negotiate deals that are better deals for taxpayers.”

Also outlined in Preston’s vision for the future of Broome County is a new County website to be launched later this year that will be a one stop shop for information, questions and information on community events.

“One of my main objectives remains creating jobs,” says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.  “We need to provide companies not only the location, but the infrastructure, to relocate here to add jobs.”

Economic Development and Jobs

02/20/2014 - 5:37pm