Plans to cut taxes in Ogdensburg prove tricky

Updated: Feb. 13, 2020 at 5:12 PM EST
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Campaign vows to cut taxes in Ogdensburg are proving tricky and at times dividing former allies.

Ogdensburg is taking a big step toward consolidation of emergency police dispatching. It's one of the first big reforms by the new administration.

“I thought it was an important way to start the process to reach the tax reductions that we're hoping for for Ogdensburg,” said Michael Skelly, Ogdensburg mayor.

The move to start the 911 consolidation process so far has drawn no opposition from the council. But a move to order the city manager to identify cuts to lower taxes 5 percent did.

“If it could just be done by putting in a resolution: 'Cut 5 percent.' I think the previous council would have done that,” said Skelly.

At Monday's council meeting, Skelly's campaign running mates all voted for the move. Skelly and three other councilors voted against. One of Skelly's campaign allies said he was disappointed by the mayor's vote.

“We just wanted to start getting ready to finally lower our taxes and see where we're going to do some cuts and save some money,” said William Dillabough, city council member.

The other two voting for it – and against Skelly – were John Rishe and Steve Fisher. They have also split with Skelly on important spending votes.

Skelly and his running mates focused their campaign on Ogdensburg neighborhoods. They told people they could cut their taxes. Now, those people are watching to see what happens.

City councilors say they are aware of that. Dillabough said he, Rishe and Fisher still want to work with Skelly.

“We just want to lower the taxes. That's our aim,” he said.

The first change in dispatch will enable the county’s 911 dispatch center to directly communicate with Ogdensburg patrol cars. For the time being, Ogdensburg police dispatchers will remain on the job and take calls coming into the police station, but that could change.

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