Johnson City mayoral candidate pushes for property tax-free zone

By Kelly McCarthy

October 1, 2013 Updated Oct 2, 2013 at 1:19 AM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A local mayoral candidate is pushing his platform to revitalize downtown Johnson City just as the city of Binghamton has done in past years.

Democratic candidate Barrett Esworthy said Tuesday in order to accomplish his goals, he'll create a property tax-free zone running from Arch Street to Avenue C.

"If an owner of these old buildings here in downtown Johnson City is willing to rent out a storefront," Esworthy said, "Willing to rent out the apartments that are usually above most of these storefronts. They will essentially receive a property tax credit, meaning they will not have to pay property taxes through the village of Johnson City."

Esworthy says to help businesses see more customers he would also like to end all metered parking in the village.

"I think we're a lot of times blind to how much of an impact metered parking has on keeping people away from downtown pores in the village of Johnson City or wherever," Esworthy said.

Esworthy said he wants to tear down the remaining empty Endicott-Johnson shoe factories to make space available for future development. He admitted it will be tough to find funding, but he would make it a priority if elected.

"Whether that's through efforts through pursuing a state grant, a federal government grant, trying to get a private developer to come down and tear it down for us," Esworthy said, "And in place of those Endicott-Johnson shoe factories, those ugly rusting factories that are there, think of all the possibilities."

Johnson City Mayor Greg Deemie said he'll issue a statement on Esworthy's plans later this week.