In wide-ranging interview, Skelly floats idea of turning Ogdensburg firefighters into volunteers

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 4:48 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Could Ogdensburg's fire department go from a paid department to volunteers? It's an idea Mayor Mike Skelly wants the residents to decide.

In a sit down interview in our studios Thursday, Skelly said the fire department is a very big part of the city's budget and Ogdensburg needs to cut costs.

Skelly says he tried to manage expenses with the department earlier this year by cutting 4 jobs. That didn't happen because the union's contract wouldn't allow it.

Skelly now thinks a referendum should go to the voters - perhaps next year - that asks residents if the department should remain paid or go to a volunteer group.

"I think now is the time that maybe we bring it to a referendum and let all the citizens decide. It's too big for a mayor and 6 councilors, so let's have the citizens decide," he said.

Skelly admits he doesn't have full support from other council members on this, but he's hoping they'll at least be open to letting a referendum happen to see what voters want.

You can watch Skelly’s entire interview above. He talks about his first 7 months in office and the backlash he has gotten from the communtiy if a 25 percent tax cut will happen.

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