CANTON — Members of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators met with a contingent from the Ogdensburg City Council on Thursday to continue negotiations on a 10-year sales tax agreement.
In a news release, Ogdensburg Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly said the two sides were “miles apart,” and termed the meeting as cordial, but resulting in no progress.
Mr. Skelly said he was in Canton negotiating for the city of Ogdensburg and St. Lawrence County’s towns and villages for an increase in the percentage of sales tax revenue that goes to municipalities.
“Mr. Skelly needs to educate himself on what the law reads and what his obligations are, and (what) they are to the city,” County Legislative Chairman Joseph R. Lightfoot said. “Nowhere is he authorized in State Tax Law, nor has he been authorized by any of the towns, to the best of my knowledge, to be their representative at the negotiation sessions that we have with the city.” Mr. Skelly informed the press Tuesday that he would be meeting with ”multiple town supervisors and mayors,” but the meeting was canceled later the same day.
Mr. Skelly said the county is determined to take a larger percentage of sales tax, and he would not allow that to happen.
“We are going to continue to negotiate for the towns and villages for a larger share, but if the county refuses then we will pre-empt, which is a term for the city collecting and keeping its share of sales tax generated within Ogdensburg, to include online sales,” Mr. Skelly said.
Mr. Lightfoot said he would have no comment on the details of the negotiations.
“We did sit down, we did talk, I agree that it was an amicable meeting. I do not agree with several of the points Mr. Skelly brought forward,” Mr. Lightfoot said.
Mr. Skelly said the negotiations would continue and he would continue to reach out to towns and villages to educate them on the importance of the negotiations.
Mr. Skelly said the two sides had agreed to meet within the next two weeks, but he was prepared to have to city pull out of any agreement.
“To be honest, if we collect our own, we will end up with more than we do now,” Mr. Skelly said.