Council to vote on Ogdensburg DRI application

Ogdensburg City Hall. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg City Council is expected to approve a resolution Monday authorizing a Downtown Revitalization Initiative application of up to $20 million.

New York State has announced round five of the DRI program which will invest $200 million into downtown neighborhoods across the state. Recipients of DRI awards are expected to be named in mid-to-late fall.

The city of Ogdensburg had been accepting public comments and suggestions for possible projects until Friday. On Sept. 1, the city held a virtual public meeting presented by Andrea Smith, director of Planning & Development.

“We have gotten a lot of feedback from the private sector in terms of possible projects and future projects within the downtown area and we have also gotten suggestions in writing following our public meeting from community members on amenities they would like to see in the downtown area,” said Ms. Smith.

The resolution to be presented to City Council states “the community of Ogdensburg along with the Ogdensburg City Council enthusiastically supports the submission of a DRI Round Five Application seeking up to $20 million to undertake a bottom-up community planning process and to implement catalytic projects recommended by the Local Planning Committee (LPC).”

On a draft map, there are nine possible projects that will be discussed more at the council meeting, according to Ms. Smith. A Regional Recreational & Wellness Center and River Street Brewing Company are slated in the Marina District and another four are at or near the former Diamond National site and Lighthouse Point. Those are called Diamond site infrastructure, Diamond pier improvements, River Side Event Venue and Fort La Presentation French Cabins.

On the eastern portion of the downtown area identified in the map is a project at the Frederic Remington Art Museum, a mixed use development at 1 Franklin St., and EV charging stations and sustainability enhancements.

The deadline for submission of the application is Sept. 15.

In other business, City Council will discuss a resolution to change the city charter to cease collecting county property taxes as well as transferring other duties to St. Lawrence County such as the enforcement of unpaid delinquent taxes on behalf of the city and crediting the city for unpaid delinquent taxes.

A resolution drafted for Monday calls for a public hearing at its next council meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 27.

Earlier this week, a letter from Coughlin & Gerhart, LLP, on behalf of the city of Ogdensburg, was sent to St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen Button, stating it would move forward with changing the city charter.

“All of these changes will be effective for the collection of taxes for the coming 2022 tax year. While the city wished to work with the county cooperatively on this matter rather than to seek unilateral solutions, the county has left the city with no other choice,” it stated.

In a news release, City Manager Stephen P. Jellie stated that the charter changes will not change the date or terms for collecting city property tax which begins in April, while the county property taxes will be due in January. School tax collection dates will not change and city residents will get three separate tax bills.

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(1) comment


Hope the City gets these grants but good luck working with those making the decisions. See previous article regarding changes in charter regarding County taxes,

So according to Unqualified City Manager Jellie, City taxpayers will have to pay their County taxes in January; just after Christmas and winter heating bills; drive to Canton if you want to pay in person, as gas prices keep rising with possibly bad winter weather to drive through. And UCM Jellie and LIAR Skelly "think" the County will pay the City for tax delinquent properties, but they don't really know. Lightfoot is spot on describing these two, but should include Dillabough, Fisher and Rishe.

They also whine about the City Union contracts being settled before they took Office but they can't even negotiate a much less complicated sales tax agreement. Again they "think" the City will collect more sales tax going solo without any data to support it. And they need State approval to collect they extra 1% or $1,000,000; which they don't have. Is this good leadership? I think not!

Their poor decisions are resulting in revenue losses of millions. But they sugar coat these losses by saying they are creating a leaner more efficeint workforce. Really? Do they have a choice? City taxpayers lose services they expect as jobs are cut to make up for the loss of millions in revenue. Lightfoot's statement is supported by the facts.

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