Ogdensburg won’t pursue village, town status

Ogdensburg City Hall, 330 Ford St. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — The city of Ogdensburg will not explore becoming a village or township, following a vote by the City Council Monday night.

The City Council voted not to have City Manager Stephen P. Jellie develop a “formal analysis and recommendation to determine if the City of Ogdensburg should pursue re-establishing itself as a Town or Village in lieu of City status by November 1, 2022.”

“I’ve gone over this twice. I’m not voting for this,” said Councilor Daniel E. Skamperle.

Councilor John A. Rishe said that Ogdensburg becoming a village or town would result in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue from sales tax and state aid.

“We fought so hard for sales tax and if we became a village or town, more likely a village, then you’d lose $4.7 million in revenue. We wouldn’t be a city anymore and you would be at the mercy of the county legislature on what they want to give you,” Mr. Rishe said.

Mr. Rishe added that the state aid the city receives is because of its status as a city and it would be too much for the community to lose.

“I don’t know what the calculations are but I just think it would be a huge gaping hole,” he said.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly said that following the last year with the city taking over its own collection of sales tax, it’s not the time to look at becoming a town or village.

Councilor William B. Dillabough was the lone vote supporting the analysis.

In other business Monday night:

— A resolution was unanimous to call for Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul to allow the mayor to designate one board member to the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.

— A resolution was approved to be sent to the New York State Office of General Services to develop a plan for sale of all property at the former Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and the unused portions of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.

— The City Council will request the Development Authority of the North Country submit a proposal to assume responsibility for the operations of the city’s water and wastewater treatment facilities in 2023.

— A resolution was approved to instruct Mr. Jellie to immediately request the St. Lawrence County administrator to participate in a joint feasibility study to merge city employees into the county’s health insurance program.

— J.E. Sheehan Contracting Corp. was selected to perform REDI project work referred to as the Maple City Trail Shoreline for a sum not to exceed $2,061,000.

— There were also a number of appointments of council members as liaisons to local, state and federal offices and organizations. Those six resolutions were tabled following a discussion by councilors over whether one, instead of all councilors, would be able to lobby and discuss issues and other practices with their representatives at various levels.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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