Compromise in works for Ogdensburg airport security

Compromise in works for Ogdensburg airport security
Ogdensburg International Airport (Source: WWNY)

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - A compromise is in the works for security at the Ogdensburg International Airport.

This week the city council did not renew its contract to provide a police presence there.

Some members, saying the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority is too often late in paying for it.

Those councilors wanted a provision requiring the authority to pay the bill within 30 days.

Now Mayor Mike Skelly says a special city council meeting is set for Friday at 4 p.m.

Skelly says he will support adding a 60 days "timeliness of payment clause" in order to get the contract extended.

He says without security, the airport would effectively be forced to close.

The following is Skelly’s letter to residents of Ogdensburg:

At a time when small and large businesses and state and local governments and municipalities are strapped for cash, it is foolhardy and shortsighted for some members of the Ogdensburg City Council to attempt to impose a time restriction on the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority for payments for security at the Ogdensburg International Airport.

Although payments have sometimes lagged, the bridge and port authority has always made good on its obligations to us in the past.

Because of an attempt by Ogdensburg Councilors Nichole Kennedy, Mike Powers and Dan Skamperle to force the Ogdensburg Airport to pay their bills within 30 days, a special meeting has been called to find a solution. Without airport security, the Ogdensburg Airport would effectively be forced to close when their current contract with the city expires at the end of May.

A compromise has now been found where a 60 day “timeliness of payment clause” will be added to the airport security contract with the city. I will support it, although it is still outrageous that a minor faction of the Ogdensburg City Council would place such a burden on the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority at this time.

Business and governments big and small are struggling now because of the COVID-19 economic downturn. Homeowners are being given extra time to make their mortgage payments, landlords have been told they cannot evict tenants and even credit card companies are helping customers with slow payments.

The Ogdensburg Airport is a vital part of the north country community and the OBPA has always been a valuable local and regional partner. If anything, we should be willing to offer a more flexible payment plan to the airport, not one that is more restrictive. The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority has also suffered a loss of revenue because of the closed Canadian border and a lack of flights because of the pandemic. However, despite that, the OBPA has continued to catch up on their bills to the city.

I will support the new 60-day payment requirement being forced by the minority on the city council, but do not agree with its premise of placing more constraints on the bridge and port authority itself. The OBPA is too valuable a resource for the city and region.

Mike Skelly

Ogdensburg Mayor

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