Binghamton's budget is tested

By Perry Russom

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced the fiscal health of the city of Binghamton.

From 2001 to 2011, the city's total revenue spiked at an average annual rate of 4.9 percent, according to figures released Thursday.

That beats the state average of 3.4 percent.

"We are operating on a much, much tighter budget," said Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan. "We've made the tough choices to respond to the financial crisis of the worst recession in 80 years."

The city's expenditures also increased, but by 3.6 percent over the 10-year period. That, again, beats the state average.

The numbers weren't all positive. The city's unemployment rate is still higher than the statewide average, and the poverty rate among children is double the state's average.

"That high percentage, particularly in regards to children, which we mean by extension families living in the city, is a significant environmental challenge," DiNapoli said.

Ryan and DiNapoli said even though the numbers are mixed, the overall economic health of the city is headed in a positive direction.

Ryan says one way to keep it that way is investing in information technology.

"Those ideas that are being incubated at the university can then move into our city and start to produce some of the real important high-paying jobs, high-tech jobs that we know are in our state's future," Ryan said.

DiNapoli said this would continue the statewide trend.

"More and more we're seeing in our state and across the country universities being the catalyst and the hub creating new ideas, new technologies, new products that can be commercialized," said DiNaopli.

Ryan said more challenges lie ahead for the city, and they can't be ignored