David makes crime, roads top priorities in first state of the city speech

By Matt Porter

April 10, 2014 Updated Apr 11, 2014 at 6:02 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton Republican Mayor Rich David said Thursday fixing major arteries and being tough on crime are his two top priorities for 2014 in his first state of the city address.

The mayor outlined a five-tier plan for the city with infrastructure and public safety topping the agenda.

After marking his first 100 days, David promised he would do everything in his power to lower crime rates, including taking advantage of seldom used 'lockdown law.'

The law would allow David to close residential and commercial properties that have been the site of repeated criminal activity including murder, rape and drugs.

"I will use the lockdown law as a potent tool to reduce criminal activity, hold landlords accountable and provide relief to neighborhoods and residents who have been negatively impacted for far too long," David said.

Wednesday, the city locked down a bar on Clinton Street called 17 East. David said the bar has been the site of multiple shootings and gang activity.

David also announced his plan to add two new police officers to the Community Response Team by eliminating two other vacant city positions.

"Expanding the CRT will result in a stronger and more visible presence on our streets," David said, "And will send a message that Binghamton is tough on crime, and tough on criminals."

On infrastructure, David announced a plan to speed up the capital improvement project for Riverside Drive.

David's plan would overhaul Riverside Drive from Front to Beethoven streets this year, and provide spot fixes from Beethoven to the Johnson City line.

In 2015, the city would finish the overhaul on the Beethoven to Johnson City portion of the road.

David also wants to lower Front Street by several feet near Clinton Street to avoid trucks getting stuck under the railroad underpass.

The mayor also criticized the previous administration for missing a 2012 deadline to inspect all piping penetrating the city's flood walls.

David promised to finish that work as soon as possible.

In his speech, David mentioned replacing 7,000 street lights in Binghamton with energy-efficient LED lights and replacing all water meters with models more efficient and accurate.

Binghamton City Council President and Democrat Teri Rennia said the council would support many of David's initiatives, but are concerned the freshman mayor's ambitious agenda lacks a specific plan.

"We've asked for years about swapping to LED lighting, we've asked about the water meters. I think they're both great plans," Rennia said. "But you need to back up with how you're going to pay for it, they would be massive projects."

David said council democrats are playing politics by attacking him, he said he has briefed city council each step of the way.

"I continue to outline my proposals, I continue to go to work sessions," David said, "And provide council with the answers and information they need."

The speech also included proposals to improve city parks, city parking lots and bring the farmer's market initially meant for Otsiningo Park to the northside.

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