Binghamton Mayor Rich David is speaking out against President Donald Trump's proposed cuts to Community Development Block Grants nationwide. Officials from senior and youth programs gathered Monday to voice their concerns. As Vince Briga explains, many say their programs are crucial to the future of the city.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- For decades, cities and municipalities across the country have relied on community development block grants. Since 2014, Binghamton has used more than $2 million in CDBG funding for public infrastructure, blight removal and parks improvements.
But President Donald Trump is calling for cuts to these funds.
Binghamton Mayor Rich David, a Republican, is speaking out against the president, saying this is a bipartisan issue that would cut vital programs in the city.
"There's not a Democrat or Republican way to collect garbage or to fix a street," David said, "and that's why at the local level, I think we've done a very good job of keeping politics out of Binghamton."
Action for Older Persons in Broome County, which assists hundreds of seniors each year, received $60,000 in CDBG funding since 2014. This has helped the city fund home repairs for low-income seniors.
The executive director fears these proposed cuts could force many into nursing homes.
"It keeps them in their home, it keeps their home with regular repairs; it kind of reduces the potential for the blight issues that Mayor David has talked about,” said Casondra Hamilton.
And then there's the youth. The Boys and Girls Club in Binghamton relies heavily on CDBG funding, taking in $59,000 since 2014 for after school activities.
With these cuts, officials say most of these programs would go away.
"What is more important than to make sure a young child is off the streets during the summer time and into a structured, organized safe program where they can have fun and be with people who care about them and they can learn?" said Binghamton Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Marybeth Smith.
The funded programs also allow teens to gain employment skills and make money while they're still in school.
"Not only are these kids getting money to go buy whatever, this is money that's going home to their families to help. Why would anybody feel this is not important?" said Smith.
David plans to meet with Senator Charles Schumer in the coming weeks to voice his concerns about the planned cuts. Proposed CDBG budget cuts would eliminate $1.7 million in federal funding locally.