Rotary hosts Binghamton mayoral debate

By Kelly McCarthy

October 29, 2013 Updated Oct 29, 2013 at 7:08 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Voters asked the next mayor of Binghamton what they think the city's biggest problem is, and how he or she plans to fix it.

The Binghamton Rotary hosted a debate between Republican Rich David and Democrat Teri Rennia. Both candidates agreed the biggest problem facing Binghamton is the economy, but they have different ways of solving the city's deficiencies.

Rennia said she would focus on creating jobs and stable taxes while David is pushing for more police officers to lower the crime rate and make the city safer for investment.

"Make no mistake, when it comes to fighting crime more bodies are needed," David said, "That's just a fundamental fact and you even see the administration now begin to add police officers."

Rennia said she would not advocate for more officers down the road. She said it costs around $2.5 million to employ one Binghamton police officer for 20 years.

"If you're talking about 20 officers, I don't care if you do it over two years or 10 years," Rennia said, "You're talking $50 million of additional tax burden on our residents. I don't think there are many people who think they can afford that."

Rotarians asked each candidate what makes them a better mayor over their opponent.

Rennia said it's more than just her six years of experience as an elected official on city council that makes her qualified.

"I bring experience as a homeowner, and a mother. I know what's going in our schools," Rennia said, "I know what's going on in our neighborhoods and what's going on in our neighborhoods is crucial, crucial, to the advancement of this city. And I know that because I live it, every single day."

David added that he has six years of experience under Mayor Bucci's administration.

"The decisions that are made in the mayor's office aren't made in the vacuum. They require active support from city council," David said, "And if you want to continue with the direction the city is going, that's what my opponent has to offer, if you want a change from business as usual and status quo, that's what I offer."