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HOUSING

Affordable housing is the lifeblood of a thriving community, with far-reaching implications for its health and well-being. When housing is accessible to all income levels, it fosters social cohesion, diversity, and inclusivity, nurturing a sense of belonging among residents. Stable and affordable housing contributes to improved physical and mental health outcomes, reducing stress and providing a safe haven for families to thrive. Moreover, it enhances economic productivity, as secure housing enables individuals to invest in education, career opportunities, and local businesses. Affordable housing, therefore, serves as the cornerstone of a resilient, harmonious community, where individuals can build better lives, creating a positive ripple effect that elevates society as a whole.

The actionable steps I'll take:

Conduct Vacancy Study — It’s no secret that there are an abundance of vacant properties and apartments throughout Binghamton. We need to know where they are and get them occupied. When we know where they are we can begin to impose vacancy tax or fines to get those properties in motion. We cannot allow properties to sit empty in perpetuity while so many people are desperate to find a place to live.

Code Reform — Rental Licensing & Abandonment Proceedings. We need to continue to boost the capacity of code enforcement. Our current laws and practices allow negligent landlords to let their properties fall into disrepair which continues to erode our housing stock, but also subjects tenants to unsafe living conditions. Rental licensing with pre-inspections would give the Code Department the ability to enforce safe living conditions, as well as giving tenants peace of mind when they move into a new place. Pursuing abandonment proceedings will allow the city to gain control of properties that are vacant and neglected.

City Wide Tax Reassessment — Our city’s property tax assessment is in the top [five] oldest in the state. It’s 30 years old at this point and does not reflect the real value of real estate in Binghamton. This exacerbates inequities and puts an unfair property tax burden on homeowners. Extremely profitable landlords and student landlords are not paying their fair share because of this antiquated system. It makes it harder for first time homeowners to afford a home. A reassessment would begin to balance some of the inequities in how properties are taxed in Binghamton.

 

Invest in Deeply Affordable Housing — Our elected leadership continues to prioritize tax breaks for luxury housing, whose projected rental costs are far beyond where our greatest demand for housing lie. If the city is to provide a subsidy to a private developer, the developer needs to be committed to addressing our most pressing housing needs, which are in deeply affordable housing.

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