Mayoral candidates plan to build up Binghamton

By Kelly McCarthy

October 22, 2013 Updated Oct 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The two candidates in the race for Binghamton's next Mayor said building up the city will start from the ground up. Infrastructure is an issue both candidates said is a major concern they hear when door-to-door campaigning.

Republican Rich David said public infrastructure is a comprehensive plan that should not focus just on city streets, but it's what residents are concerned with.

"When I go door to door," David said, "What I hear most about in regards to infrastructure is the deplorable condition of our streets. And potholes that exist everywhere in the city."

David is proposing a cold asphalt recycling program he said will pave more streets and save more money.

"Which is where you basically recycle the millings on streets that are torn up," David said, "Use them as the base coat on new streets."

Democrat Teri Rennia said in her 'Complete City Plan' each neighborhood should have an assembly to promote its own infrastructure needs.

"Economic development and infrastructure are about a whole lot more than asphalt, and we need to keep that in mind as we move forward," Rennia said, "Any infrastructure plan that doesn't talk about flood mitigation is severely lacking."

Rennia's plan includes increasing green space to help with water runoff, and separating the underground storm and sewer systems.

"If we don't invest, make the investments in getting these separated," Rennia said, "We're going to continue to overwhelm that plant every time we have a serious rainfall issue."

Each would have a different approach to tackling the future of the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment plant.

"One of the things I'm proposing there is we look at possibly bringing in a private operator on a short term basis," David said, "To compare and contrast the difference in management, I also think it's important as we look to spend 10's of millions of dollars on upgrading the facility."

Rennia strongly opposes any shift to privatization. She said based on her knowledge of other municipalities moving toward privatization does not show positive results.

"It doesn't necessarily improve efficiencies, and it doesn't necessarily make things run better," Rennia said, "There are a lot of state mandates that we're obligated to and when you introduce private management in you're introducing a component of profit that's not there when municipal organizations are running these things."

Rennia and David have different visions on how the future city's structure will look, which one becomes reality is up to the voters.