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Policing, Sewage Contentious Points During Binghamton Mayoral Debate

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) – Candidates vying to be Binghamton’s next mayor last night discussed a variety of issues including housing, policing and substance abuse.

Joseph Burns, on the Democratic line and Jared Kraham on the Republican and Conservative lines–were especially contentious over policing and the management of the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant.

Kraham accused Burns of trying to “defund” the police, something the city councilmember denies.

"Look, Mr. Burns may have changed his position, and that's fine,” Kraham said. “That's a good thing if you did, but last year he signed onto a plan which was announced by the city council Democrats to reallocate funding away from the police department."

Burns said the plan Kraham referred to was a discussion over the city’s police reform collaborative that would’ve moved some funds out of the police department’s budget.

"There were things such as getting mental health help to go to calls, so we said in that, what you just said, to go through the city budget to find anywhere in the city budget including the police department, to see if we can't, if we can't get the things we want in the police collaborative."

Burns said he supports police and pointed to his time on city council, where he worked to move more resources to the department.

The match-up, hosted by WSKG and the League of Women Voters of Broome and Tioga Counties is the only live, televised debate so far in this mayoral race.  

Early voting begins Saturday and the general election is Nov. 2.

For all of WSKG’s election coverage, including full interviews with both candidates running for mayor, visit WSKGVotes.org.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.