Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PSB on Broome County Exec candidates "sparring" on Fracking.

Local Incumbants:

Assy. Donna Lupardo (D), "Let's let the DEC do their job."
Sen. Tom Libous (R), "Let's let the DEC do their job."


Monica Silas (D - candidate for Broome Co. Legis) "Fracking is inevitable."
Debbie Preston (D - candidate for BC exec)  "Fracking is good for the economy".
Patrick Brennan (R - candidate for BC exec) "Whether you're for it or against it -- it's coming,"

Sparring? Isn't sparring when people take different sides?

More like a pro-fracking love fest.
How can politicians by so out of touch with a) the facts and b) their constituents?
See highlighted text

Election coming up... Let's get on this, folks.

-- BH


Broome executive candidates spar

Brennan, Preston debate jobs, gas drilling

BINGHAMTON -- Jobs, gas drilling and cost-cutting dominated a debate between Broome County's two executive candidates Tuesday afternoon.

The event, hosted by Binghamton Rotary Club 64 at Terra Cotta, lasted roughly 30 minutes and was more of a question-and-answer session for Executive Patrick Brennan, a Democrat, and Conklin Town Supervisor Debbie Preston, a Republican.

The biggest issues Broome County faces? Finding ways to provide government services the public wants at a reasonable cost, while costs associated with mandated services are increasing and there is a 2 percent property tax cap that limits revenue, Brennan said.

"At some point in time, you can't eliminate parks and sheriff's road patrols and still have a safe environment for people," Brennan told more than 30 people in attendance during the debate.

For Preston, the county's biggest problem is the lack of good jobs.

"That's why my number-one priority since April is jobs, jobs and jobs," she said. "I feel that Wall Street is broken, Washington is broken, Albany is broken, and the county is sitting on its hands and we need to move forward."

Cutting costs in Broome is another issue, both candidates said.

When putting together a proposed 2012 budget, Brennan said he was faced with a $10 million budget shortfall from previous years.

"I had to come up with an idea to make up that money," he said. "The idea I came up with was a retirement incentive that rather than paying employees cash ... I came up with an idea to give the employees a credit toward their share of their health insurance."

There were 130 employees eligible to retire; 72 took the incentive, he said.

Money-saving measures need to come from the top down, Preston said.

"I'm proposing a 5 percent cut in my salary if I'm elected, and also 22 top appointees, which would save close to $200,000," Preston said.

She also pointed to the Brennan administration's current proposal to give 3 percent raises to 66 non-union county employees.

"Now's not the time," she said.

In addition to questions posed by the moderator, several questions were also taken from the audience, one of which dealt with hydraulic fracturing, a method used to extract natural gas from tight rock formations like the Marcellus Shale.

Both candidates said they are in favor of safe natural gas drilling.

"The New York State (Department of Environmental Conservation), I believe, will be issuing permits this coming spring. Whether you're for it or against it -- it's coming," Brennan said. "I think the DEC has done a good job, a thorough job, of writing 1,000 pages of regulations."

It would give a much-needed economic boost to the area, Preston said.

"I do have to agree that with the state's findings ... I think it will be the strictest in our country. I think that other states are going to look at New York's regulations and use that," Preston said.

Why does each candidate believe they're the best person for the job? Both pointed to their experience in government -- Brennan in various roles at the county, and Preston in her role as town supervisor.

"It takes someone that has been at the helm for a while," said Brennan, 61. "I know what it takes to operate this multi-faceted corporation."

"Broome County needs big changes," said Preston, 57. "I do have the experience and I know I can get it done."

Whoever wins next month's election will serve a one-year term as executive. In November 2012, there will be another election for the seat, carrying a four-year term, beginning in 2013.

William Huston            WilliamAHuston@gmail.com
Binghamton NY             Phone: 607-321-7846

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