OGDENSBURG — City Manager Sarah Purdy has begun posting daily updates on the city’s response to COVID-19.
“As our community adjusts to new patterns in our daily lives, the City wants to assure our residents that we are open for business even though the doors of City Hall are closed,” Ms. Purdy wrote in her first installment. “This is the first of what I hope will be daily updates Monday through Friday on our activities.”
The update will be posted each day on the front page of Ogdensburg.org.
The City Council meeting that was scheduled for Monday night was canceled because the solution the city could come up with for people to virtually attend the meeting did not allow for any interaction.
A solution to that problem has been found, but getting it in place might take a while because so many other municipalities are seeking the same solution.
“The vendor that we are probably going to go with is swamped,” Ms. Purdy said in an interview with the Times. “We are going to get it up and running as soon as we can.”
Life in City Hall is focused on logistics, Ms. Purdy said. The business of government has to go on.
“Not just in these times, but in any times people think, ‘Oh, you can get rid of the clerical staff first.’ No, you can’t, they’re about the last,” she said.
In her update, Ms. Purdy explains how city residents can interact with her staff even if the doors to City Hall are locked.
“Employees are still present 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you need to reach any of the City Hall departments, please call 315-393-6100 and listen to the directory of available options,” she wrote in the update. “If your call goes to voicemail please leave a message and we will call you back. As an alternative, you can go to the staff directory on the City’s website and click on the email box to leave an email message for any of us.”
In addition to taking care of city business, Ms. Purdy’s office has contacted Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center with an offer of help.
“Today our City reached out to Claxton-Hepburn Hospital to offer Lockwood Arena, which is currently closed, as additional space should the hospital need to reallocate its own space to accommodate more beds,” she wrote. “We also have offered to lend staff for background coordinating work if needed, and we are on standby prepared to help.”
For those who have bills to pay with the city, online is the easiest way, Ms. Purdy said.
Xpress-pay.com, which offers e-check, credit card and debit card options, is set up to take payments. To make a payment, visit the city website at Ogdensburg.org, and click on “Pay my Bill.” There is a fee for the service.
“It is not a fee the City charges,” Ms. Purdy said.
Residents can also use the postal service to pay bills. The address is 330 Ford St.
Ms. Purdy is also looking at the future.
“What is the City of Ogdensburg government going to look like when we restart?” she said. “Clearly it’s not going to look the same and neither is our community. This is tough.”