Ogdensburg explores options after county rejects tax deal

WWNY Ogdensburg explores options after county rejects tax deal

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Now that St. Lawrence County legislators have rejected Ogdensburg’s plea to maintain the status quo on sales taxes, the city now has until November to decide what do.

Ogdensburg has been sent back to square one. Legislators, by an 8-7 vote Monday, rejected a resolution to keep the city’s sales tax split “as is” for two more years.

“Surprised a little bit, but uh, you know,” said Mike Skelly, Ogdensburg mayor.

“Surprised” because a county committee earlier approved such a deal. But the resolution to maintain the status quo through 2023 couldn’t make it over the finish line.

“There’s obviously a bitterness toward Ogdensburg. It’s been that way since a year ago – first meeting. You could just see it,” said Skelly.

Those voting “nay” on the resolution say bitterness has nothing to do with it. They point out Ogdensburg receives a far bigger slice of sales tax revenue than villages and towns.

“What the city representatives say is, ‘It has been working, keep giving us the money.’ Well, things have changed over the 20 years and there should be an acknowledgment of that,” said Kevin Acres, St. Lawrence County legislator.

Ogdensburg’s share comes under an agreement struck more than two decades ago. Acres and others want to re-calculate that share using the same formula as is used for villages and towns.

“I believe it’s an issue of fairness and that an adjustment has to be made,” said Acres.

The Skelly Administration says the city will now move to collect its own sales tax. It would get to keep 100 percent. But it will have to hurry as the current deal expires in November.

Plans to pre-empt sales tax collections wasn’t the Skelly Administration’s only reaction to Monday’s vote. It also plans to change how delinquent property taxes are handled.

It wants to turn delinquent property tax collections over to the county. Officials say that could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.