Preston To Announce Office of Energy Development

By Adam Chick

January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 10, 2013 at 7:35 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Plans for an office in Broome County that's dedicated to energy development are underway.

But some in the legislature feel it's an unnecessary step since the state has not made an official decision on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

The county plans to announce the opening of the Office of Energy Development. This office will be a division of Debbie Preston's Executive Office. Legislature Minority Leader Dan Reynolds thinks the office is designed specifically to promote hydrofracking.

"It just sounds to me like an office of natural gas development. And if it is I think it's premature," said Reynolds.

Others, like Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich, disagree. He says it's the next logical step in Broome County's future.

"This office is to deal with energy issues overall. Not only just to help Broome County but maybe to help some businesses and things like that. We have to start looking at energies, other than just employees and benefits, energy is another high cost to the taxpayers of Broome County," said Marinich.

This plan will cost the county about $180 thousand per year. Reynolds says it's not the right time for Broome County to add another office.

"We've been down-sizing over the past few years. We've had a couple of tough budget seasons. Cutting positions, cutting benefits, what have you," said Reynolds.

Marinich countered by saying it won't cost the taxpayers anything. $100 thousand has been committed by the Industrial Development Agency as well as another $100 thousand by the legislature by hotel and motel taxes.

"It's no additional property tax to Broome County residents. It does not affect their property tax one penny," said Marinich.

Preston is expected to announce the opening of the office on Thursday.

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