Letter. Making Endicott a business-friendly village, by Nicholas Burlingame

November 1, 2020.
Press & Sun-Bulletin, page A10, Binghamton NY.

Your Turn
By Nicholas Burlingame, Guest Columnist

I reside in Endicott with my wife and two young children. I am a first-time candidate, running for Endicott trustee.

After attending village board meetings last year, it was evident that our elected officials were out of touch. The steady decline of Endicott ran parallel with trustees serving 19-plus years on the village board. I felt a civic obligation to my community and my children to try to improve and restore our local municipality.

Admittedly, I am not a politician. I am a businessman, a school director who works to inspire and improve lives of many area residents. I operate a trade school where I employ a dozen people, maintain profitability, solicit grants, scholarships and funding through workforce agencies. We help individuals attend school and ultimately secure a life-changing new career. I actively work with many local companies to help graduates find gainful and rewarding employment through our job placement assistance program.

The most critical issue facing village residents is the purposed battery recycling facility. The facility would heat lithium-ion batteries to high temperatures via rotary kiln, cremate the useless battery parts in Endicott, and send the precious metals to Korea.

The DEC has acknowledged the presence of dangerous airborne PFSA’s. Our peaceful community is up in arms; hundreds of properties have “No Burn Broome” lawn signs. There have been marches, protests and civil unrest. When elected, I would seek to add restrictions to the zoning code to protect residents from polluters like this facility. The health and safety of our residents has to outweigh all other concerns.

Endicott has remained stagnant in its progress for the last 20 years. We need to improve the perception, and work to make Endicott attractive to young professional families and businesses. We would start that process by improving and modernizing village gateways, working with developers, and encouraging pride of ownership.

I have a unique perspective on how to encourage economic growth and development for small businesses, because I operate a business within the village. The first thing to understand is the village is not business-friendly. It’s not perception; it is reality. This toxic attitude needs to change. We need to facilitate an atmosphere that would incubate new and protect existing businesses.

Broome County is an ideal location for industry, because we are a “shipping hub.” We are centrally located with a perfect network of highway systems. We are under five hours from Boston, D.C., Cleveland, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia and Toronto. We need to market for that audience. Endicott was once the Magic City, and that is because it was always looking ahead to the future.

When our families immigrated here in the early 20th century; it was a land of opportunity, hope, and a great place to work and start a family. Endicott has solid community values, a storied past and long-standing traditions.

I am running for trustee for my children and yours, because I believe in a family-friendly Endicott. I humbly ask for your support this November.

Nicholas Burlingame is an Endicott resident.

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