Broome County is a great place to live. Filled with rich history and unique experiences, there’s so much to enjoy in Broome County and our sense of community makes it a place unlike any other. Each of our 24 municipalities has something special to offer from the arts to agritourism to the outdoors. Broome County truly has a little bit of everything. Home to Binghamton University and SUNY Broome Community College, we are a place where people come to learn and proceed to find a home.
We’ve accomplished so much since I took office in 2016 and have big plans in place to make our community even better. Thanks to the power of partnerships, we get things done here in Broome County. The county, the municipalities, the state, business owners, developers, we all work together, rolling up our sleeves, and partnering to get things done. We’re working to expand on the progress we have made over the last few years, none of which would be possible without a team approach.
Developers see opportunity in Broome County and go after it. From projects such as the Ansco Lofts in the city of Binghamton to the new National Pipe and Plastics headquarters in Endicott, once blighted properties are becoming anchors for Broome County. We’re seeing the start of real change after loss of the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Factory and the great impact IBM once had in our county. Projects like this are a win-win for the community and have put us back on the map.
Redevelopment of blighted facilities with tons of history is attracting young professionals to the area, making Broome County a place where people want to be. We’re becoming the go-to space for the hemp industry. With businesses like Canopy Growth and Southern Tier Hemp opening facilities in Broome, this is just the first step to opportunity and growth. The hemp industry is sure to provide an economic boost for the Southern Tier, particularly Broome County, and I can’t wait to see things really get into gear over the next year.
After a time in flux, our local economy is improving and our county finances are stronger. We’re developing responsible budgets, working to grow our county fund balance, and our 2019 budget included a tax cut for the first time in 14 years. Not only that, but thanks to campaigns like, “Buy in Broome,” we’ve seen a huge increase in sales tax revenues.
We are working together to show off the best of Broome County to those who are considering taking a job here. Over the past eight years, the unemployment rate has been cut in half, but we still have work to do. There are 4,000 open jobs and I am committed to working with our partners to get those filled. Our workforce director Sara Liu is working hard to get people hired. We have expanded our Opportunity Impact Program, a partnership with SUNY Broome and several of our local companies. After a six-week training program, you are guaranteed a job. Our Clean Sweep program is getting Broome County residents who are on welfare back into the workforce. Additionally, thanks to the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, we have our Welcome Wagon program, which helps extend a warm invitation to those considering taking jobs here in Broome County.
We live in a great community and are doing everything possible to make it even better. We’re making it better for our veterans, too, with a one stop shop for veterans’ services. We are putting all veterans’ programs and services under one roof at the former Vestal Hills Country Club in Binghamton. Our veterans deserve to have a facility that shows we care, a place they feel comfortable, welcomed, safe and taken care of. This will be it. It will be a model for communities around New York State and be the gold standard on how a community should take care of its veterans. The plan is to have this new facility open in late 2020.
There is nothing greater than getting out into our communities and meeting with our residents. Together each and every day we’re making Broome County a great place for our families to live. We’re home to April the Giraffe, have a booming craft beer industry and you can’t forget about our delicious spiedies. Our “Go All Out Broome” program provides a simple guide to the hundreds of places and thousands of acres for you to explore in Broome County. From golf to hiking to picnics or skiing in our parks there is something to do year-round here in Broome. The LUMA Projection Arts Festival, Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, and the DICK’s Sporting Goods Open are just some of the wonderful events that take place in our county and draw in thousands of people from far and wide. On behalf of all our residents, I encourage and welcome you to visit Broome County and see all that we have to offer.
Jason Garnar is the county executive of Broome County, Binghamton, N.Y