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Proposed Binghamton budget includes trash bag cost increase, more police

Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham is moving forward with plans for his first city budget process since taking office at the start of this year.

Part of Kraham’s proposal includes funding for three new positions in the police department. He said the increased staffing is needed to deal with what he calls “a changing landscape of crime.”

"We will respond by investing in the measures we know make communities safer,” Kraham said in his address to City Council, presenting the budget. “That starts with filling every vacant position in the Binghamton Police Department and being aggressive in recruiting a broad and diverse candidate pool."

Kraham said adding more staff will allow the department to engage in more approaches to law enforcement, such as community-based policing. The mayor said part of the funding for the new positions would come from grants.

Additionally, Kraham is proposing that the city raise the price on its refuse collection bags, or “blue bags” by 25 cents each.

Kraham said city trash collection is currently mostly subsidized through the city’s budget and ultimately property taxes.

“Binghamton small businesses who use private haulers, or homeowners who generate little in terms of garbage, like our seniors, are covering most of the collection costs through their property taxes,” Kraham said. “That’s $2.5 million that should be used buying snowplows, or paying cops, or cleaning up our parks."

Kraham said he wants to focus on reforming the city’s trash collection system further, but does not believe in totally privatizing the service.

Kraham's proposed budget very slightly lowers the property tax rate to just under $22 per thousand dollars of assessed value for 2023. That's a reduction of the rate by 11 cents from 2022.

Binghamton City Council will hold a series of meetings over the next few weeks to consider the budget.

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.