Reflecting on 'State of the City'

By Erika Mahoney

February 28, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 12:58 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) When asked how it felt to stand at the podium and deliver his eighth and final State of the City Address, Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan used the word "bittersweet."

"It's a bittersweet moment," Ryan said. "Obviously, I really loved being mayor."

Not yet time to say goodbye, Ryan embarked on a nearly 40-minute speech. He began by detailing how he and his team transformed 'crisis into progress' during his two terms.

"When I was elected at the end of 2005, going into 2006, nobody could have imagined that we would have the worst recession in 80 years and that pension costs would continue to skyrocket," he said.

Over the years, he said he's cut more than 70 positions -- 11 percent of the workforce -- to increase the fund balance from $219,000 to $6 million.

Even still, financial issues persist. In his speech Wednesday Ryan called on Broome County officials for help.

"The sooner we restore a fair distribution of sales tax revenues, the better it is for communities in our county."

Local municipal leaders have urged the county to restore the 50/50 sales tax share.

Looking back, he said his biggest accomplishment has been removing blight. He says his team's efforts helped the city win twice the New York Restore Grant.

But as he said in his address, revitalizing neighborhoods and downtown Binghamton is still a work in progress.

"We have a lot of new businesses and we really appreciate those who believe in Binghamton. And I believe with everything that is happening with the new downtown incubator, we are going to see nothing but more and more success."

It's an effort of which his team is especially proud.

"If you go and walk downtown now, during the day, and see the increased foot traffic and see the new construction projects, certainly, you have to be proud of all of that," said Binghamton City Council President Teri Rennia.

As Ryan concluded his speech, he tipped his hat to newcomers saying, "together, we have planted the seeds for better things to come."