Preston Lays Out Plan for Broome County

By Adam Chick

February 14, 2013 Updated Feb 15, 2013 at 12:43 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Broome Executive Debbie Preston has a plan she says will sustain the county not just through her four-year term, but for the next four decades.

"Beginning on day one, my team and I made it clear that 2012 was about change," Preston said Thursday during her second State of the County Address.

Preston says there are big changes coming to Broome County. That includes developing the airport corridor by first installing a sewer system as a major piece of infrastructure to bring in future businesses. The airport currently uses a septic system.

"I'm very excited about it and that's what I call a return on investment," Preston said.

The money for the sewer project -- at least a portion of it -- will be paid for through state grants.

Preston also stressed bipartisan cooperation, even going so far as to give out flowers to every one of the 14 legislators in attendance.

Although legislative minority leader Dan Reynolds agrees with that sentiment, he's not totally sold on another topic that Preston highlighted: Her new Office of Energy Development.

"Energy in all of its forms, conventional, alternative and renewable, presents us with major economic opportunities," Preston said.

The Democrat leader said the agency's purpose was much more narrow.

"I have the feeling from tonight with the comments about natural gas development that it is essentially a fracking office and I've said before that that's premature," Reynolds said.

Preston's speech also focused on job growth.

She says the groundbreaking for Binghamton University's high-tech job creation incubator will happen this spring.

"We worked very closely with President (Dr. Harvey) Stenger on this and we did receive the money from New York State, $7 million. We got $2 million from the IDA (Industrial Development Agency)," Preston said.

In addition, Preston says she's all for greater sharing that takes the form of a 50/50 sales tax split between the county and municipalities, but that it must be done responsibly.