Public Critiques Proposed Broome County Budget

By Erika Mahoney

October 11, 2012 Updated Oct 11, 2012 at 11:39 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Nearly 20 residents and local leaders took to the podium tonight, most with strong words, in regards to County Executive Debbie Preston's proposed $365 budget.

There was a clear trend in those words, as three main topics emerged from those who expressed their opinions.

Those topics included proposed increases to BC Transit fares, how much sales tax the county will share with local municipalities and what will be done with Willow Point, the County's Nursing Home.

Seven residents expressed their concerns over possible BC Transit fare increases. They called on Preston to bring back the 31-day unlimited bus pass.

"If we can't get to places such as First Friday, or events at the Anderson Center, the Forum, or other things that are offered in this county, one, it doesn't make for very happy people," said Darlene Dickenson. "But also, we can't spend our money. When we spend our money, we generate revenue for this county."

Meanwhile, local officials from the Village of Endicott and Vestal discussed the need for more help from the county in order to balance their own budgets.

"We've had enough, I've had enough," said Vestal Town Supervisor John Schaffer. "I'm a first year guy and we are beating it to death, beating the budget to death and we can't do it without the county's help. You guys have to remember you are here to serve the county, not your parties. I don't want to make it a political game, so let's get off it, let's get working together."

Schaffer also said that while the proposed 0% tax increase for the county looks good for them, it's hurting Vestal and other local municipalities.

...most with strong words...
...For County Executive Debbie Preston...
...And her proposed 365 million dollar budget.

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