Ogdensburg officials outline challenges with sales tax plan

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 8:09 AM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Ogdensburg’s city manager outlined how much sales tax the city will need to collect if the anticipated split from the county comes to pass.

City manager Stephen Jellie gave the update at Monday night’s council meeting.

He says sticking with St. Lawrence County’s proposal for towns would mean a 51 percent reduction in sales tax collected for Ogdensburg.

Under that, the city would collect about $2 million, compared to the about $4 million it brings in now.

As the city plans out its own method of sales tax collection beyond 2022, Jellie says the city has to be in that window.

As for coming up with the plan, he says it will pose some challenges.

“It’s an enormous amount of work as I talked about before, because the recording jurisdiction is the county’s, so we have a list of close to 20,000 businesses,” he said. “So, the first thing you have to do is go through and extrapolate the ones we know are here, the ones we think may be here.”

Jellie says one difficulty with the city collecting sales tax is big-box stores like Walmart do not provide individual store data, just county-wide numbers. Online sales, like on Amazon, could also prove tricky because of the zip codes associated with each sale.

Mayor Mike Skelly says he’s confident the city will hit the high-end projection of collecting $4 million dollars because of a process called pre-empting.

The city is waiting to hear back from the state on a request to collect an extra 1 percent sales tax.

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