BINGHAMTON, NY – The last day of 2021 brought to an end the 8 years that Republican Rich David spent as the 50th Mayor of the City of Binghamton.
David had pledged to keep working on behalf of his constituents until the final day.
NewsChannel 34’s Jim Ehmke spoke with David days before he left office to reflect on his tenure.
As Rich David worked to clear out his office in late December, he was still keeping tabs on a number of projects he had gotten underway.
“What term limits did for me is that I feel like I have this clock constantly ticking away in the background. It’s been a very powerful motivator for me to make sure that I maximized all the time that I had in office,” says David.
David says he takes pride in having fulfilled the pledges he made while running for election and re-election.
Chief among his promises was to restore police department positions that had been eliminated by the prior administration. He says safety is the community’s number 1 concern.
“Residents don’t want to live or work or raise a family in areas that are unsafe. Businesses don’t want to invest, locate, relocate or expand their businesses in areas that are unsafe,” says David.
Other pledges included addressing neighborhood blight, providing activities for youth and investing in infrastructure.
David says that wasn’t just roads and bridges, but dealing with decades of deferred maintenance on the downtown parking garages and the joint sewage treatment plant.
The former mayor says decreasing or holding the line on taxes was another major goal.
He credits the staff in his finance department with coming up with creative ways to keep costs down.
“Constantly looking at every line in the budget, looking for ways for us to save money, for us to cut our expenses, because we just have such a fiscally conservative approach,” says David.
David says he wasn’t interested in just being a caretaker executive, he wanted to accomplish major projects.
They include a variety of housing developments including Canal Plaza on the Northside.
There’s the new parking ramp on Hawley Street and the central fire station under construction on Court.
Among his regrets, not finding a way to redevelop the Binghamton Plaza and the Stow Manufacturing sites.
And he wishes an arrest had been made in the June 2020 arson of the OurSpace playground at Rec Park.
“I know there are people in the community who have the information that would allow police to make an arrest and solve that crime,” says David.
David says he enjoyed the challenges of the job.
He often says that if something were easy to do, it would have been done already.
“This opportunity being mayor has been the honor of a lifetime. I just want to thank the voters and those of you who put your faith and your trust and your confidence in me,” says David.
David says that while his departure is bittersweet and that he would have run for a third term if he could, he firmly believes that he’s leaving the city in better shape than he found it