$80M state budget error snags SUNY Broome funding

By Jillian Marshall

July 29, 2014 Updated Jul 29, 2014 at 11:11 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) About 1,500 pages of the $137 billion New York State budget was accidentally left on the drafting room floor, cutting millions of dollars in funding for dozens of projects for community colleges across the state - including a downtown facility for SUNY Broome.

The state's calling it a drafting error, 17 construction projects are impacted after $80 million of funding is left out of the state budget, including SUNY Broome Hospitality Center.

The Carnegie Library in downtown Binghamton will be transforming into the hospitality center.

The project is slated to cost between $12 and $13 million.

SUNY Broome was supposed to get $5 million from the state on July 1, to help aid with the construction and $3 million from the county in January.

Fortunately for the Southern Tier community college, the mishap of money doesn't take the construction off schedule, but it does throw off their fundraising schedule.

"We don't have that private funding match money sitting right there in the bank to say ‘hey, if you give us a million, we'll match your million with the state money sitting there in the bank.' Hopefully we'll be able to do that in January, but we can't do that right now," said SUNY Broome president Dr. Kevin Drumm.

The move to downtown is something that Drumm said is necessary.

"It's absolutely crucial, we should have been there a long time ago. There's been a 30 or 40 year movement, honestly for suburban community colleges all across the country to have downtown campuses. It's very common, in fact, we're now in the minority having just one single campus," Drumm said.

Drumm said this budget setback will only delay the project about a month or two, if at all.

They will start their fundraising in January if the budget mishap is not fixed by then.

The downtown center project will last at least two years.

Meanwhile, a bill has been introduced to get the money back to community colleges as soon as possible.

If the state legislature meets for a special session, it could approve it, or the bill will have to wait for the legislative session to start in January.

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