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Riverside Drive Repairs Face Funding Issues

The City of Binghamton is gearing up to do road repairs now that spring is here.
The City of Binghamton is gearing up to do road repairs now that spring is here.

However, there is a dispute between Mayor Rich David and City Council democrats over how to pay for some of that work.

The democrats say road work is very important, but the city also has other projects that need attention.

Mayor David asked for additional money to do more extensive work along Riverside Drive than was previously planned. He wanted to shift money out of the capital improvement budget, which City Council unanimously approved last fall.

They did approve transferring $585,000, although David had sought about $1 million.

The dems were disappointed that the public works commissioner didn't have a finalized in-depth plan of street work when they recently talked with him. They say they were threatened that work along Riverside Drive wouldn't get done if they didn't approve the mayor's request.

City Councilman Jerry Motsavage says one of the things David sought was to nix buying a fire truck this year.

"The fire truck is 20 years-old. Look at the multiple fires that we've had in Binghamton. We can't put our firefighters at risk responding to any of these firefighters. I mean, we did get more money for the roads," said Motsavage.

Additional money for road repairs did come through from the state.

Mayor David says the public works department does have a plan and its commissioner tried to explain to democrats that his administration wants to broaden the scope of work along Riverside Drive over what the Ryan administration had proposed. Instead of stopping major reconstruction work at Laurel Avenue, he wants to extend it to Beethoven street, about a quarter mile west.

"Because of the harsh winter there are many streets that were not on the city's radar screen last year that need to be included this year, primarily Riverside Drive. We want to do more of Riverside Drive this year than was planned for last year," said David.

David says the less money that's shifted out of the capital improvement budget, the less road work can be done.
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