Region awaits word on funding

Ogdensburg City Hall

OGDENSBURG — Two Ogdensburg men who have recently been raising concerns about city government have released an announcement saying they are running for mayor and city council as write-in candidates in November’s general election.

Jeffery M. Skelly, owner of JMS Mechanicals and John A. Rishe, the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s director of commercial and industrial development, issued a press release early Friday stating their intentions.

Mr. Skelly intends to gather write-in votes for mayor. Mr. Rishe is seeking votes for a City Council seat.

Mr. Rishe has been in the news recently after launching a petition calling for a $5 per thousand decrease in taxes from the city and the school district.

The petition launched in late July has 261 signatures as of Friday.

“Our community leaders on the school board and the city council should start advocating for tax cuts,” Mr. Rishe said at the time of the petition launch. “Their present policies are just encouraging people to leave the city and things are just getting worse and worse.”

Mr. Skelly has been excoriating City Council since he received a new tax appraisal of a former elementary school he had converted into apartments.

Mr. Skelly, who owns the closed Ogdensburg Cinemas, has been using the theater’s electronic marquee to criticize council.

The tax bill, Mr. Skelly said, will keep him from developing property.

“In addition to remodeling the Washington School building, I also recently purchased the former Ogdensburg Cinemas building with plans to re-open it. I planned to use income from the Washington Street apartments to help defray those costs. But that will not be possible now, because the city couldn’t wait to tax the profits out of the new apartments,” he wrote in a letter to the Times in May.

In their announcement, Mr. Skelly, a Republican, and Mr. Rishe, a Democrat, said they were setting aside partisan politics to run as a team.

“John and I share a common interest in working with the citizens of Ogdensburg to reform city government and make Ogdensburg vibrant again,” Mr. Skelly said in the release.

“It is critical to lower our present taxes,” Mr. Rishe, who is also a former planning and development official with the city said in the release, “but Mike and I also wanted to team up to promote business growth and to help citizens by doing away with frequent issues from City Hall that frustrate them. We can do so much better.”

The pair will hold a press conference at 7 p.m. Monday at the former Ogdensburg Cinemas to announce their candidacy.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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