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Broome County executive promises to ‘build’ in 2024. Here’s what to expect

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar gave his annual State of the County address Wednesday at the Broome-Tioga BOCES campus.
Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar gave his annual State of the County address Wednesday at the Broome-Tioga BOCES campus.

From new housing developments to repairs to roads and bridges, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said residents can expect to see a lot of construction in 2024.

Garnar gave his annual State of the County address Wednesday at the Broome-Tioga BOCES campus. He highlighted investments in workforce development, infrastructure and housing the county has made in the past year. The county’s focus for 2024 is “Broome Builds”.

“Over $500 million in construction projects will be underway this year, which means Broome County will see more construction in 2024 than it has seen in a generation,” Garnar said. “Just take a look across the community, drive down by the highway and you'll see cranes and construction workers on job sites all across Broome County.”

A housing-needs assessment from the county’s planning department released this week found that the county will need 6,100 new housing units over the next decade to meet current and future housing needs. Garnar said much of the planned construction and development will center on housing.

“This includes all types of housing: from single family homes to market rate to senior housing, affordable housing, we need all that,” Garnar said. “That is a lot of housing. If we want to grow as a community, we have our work cut out for us here.”

Garnar said this year, the county will break ground on projects that amount to adding over 500 units of housing to the market. He said most of the projects received American Rescue Plan Act funding. Garnar highlighted new affordable housing projects, including units at the former IBM Country Club in the town of Union and a $34 million supportive-housing project at the former Sheltered Workshop complex in downtown Binghamton.

“With hundreds of more housing units in early development stages for 2025, we made a good start,” Garnar said. “However, there's still much more work ahead to ensure every resident has a safe and affordable place to live and to meet the workforce needs of our expanding businesses.”

In his address, Garnar referenced the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce’s 2024 Economic Outlook report released earlier this month. The report, which surveys local businesses, found almost 80 percent anticipate an increase in revenue this year, and almost 60 percent expect to hire more workers. Garnar said the county plans to build on that momentum, investing in workforce development, small businesses and local infrastructure.

Garnar said this year, the county is set to pave over 84 miles of roads and renovate seven county bridges. He also highlighted the recent start of a project to renovate Binghamton’s airport, using state and federal grant funding.

“This is an opportunity to undertake a much needed renovation project while minimizing costs for local taxpayers,” Garnar said. “And we established a project labor agreement with all of our local trades, ensuring that the work being carried out at the airport is carried out by local workers right here in Broome County.”

Garnar, a Democrat, is up for reelection this year. So far, no Republican challengers have come forward to run against him.