Mayoral candidates react to city's fiscal health

By Jillian Marshall

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) While Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan Thursday stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the state's highest financial official to discuss the city's economic health, the responsibility will fall on someone else's shoulders come January.

One Democrat and three Republicans are vying for the city's top political post, and they are all using Thursday's release of Binghamton's fiscal report to look toward its future finances.

The only Democrat, Teri Rennia, says the review was mixed with positives and negatives, but she thinks the city is improving.

"We are on an upward trend and I am cautiously optimistic about what the comptroller had to say, but certainly realistic about the challenges we still face," Rennia said.

Republican candidate Ed Hickey agrees with the mixed review, but he says the city needs to focus on poverty, especially children living in poverty.

"I thought there were parts that were very optimistic and parts that were very alarming. Forty-two percent of our children are in poverty, that's very scary," Hickey said.

Rich David says the report shows how much work needs to be put in the city. The Republican says he has a lot of concerns and sees Binghamton facing a lot of fiscal challenges.

David says he knows how to put the city back on track. "Work with our state representatives to contain pension costs, increase state aid," David said.

Another Republican candidate, Doug Drazen, says the report shows property values on the rise, but he is concerned with people moving out of the area.

"The city has lost upper and middle income for five of six decades. That poses a direct threat to the city's ability to provide basic services to all its citizens," Drazen said.