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In O’burg, ‘really deep disappointment’ after sales tax bill stalls

Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 2:15 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:38 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - There was “really deep disappointment” in Ogdensburg Friday, after the state Assembly failed to pass a bill that would have sent more than a million dollars to the city.

Still, city officials told 7 News reporter Keith Benman they’re holding out hope the legislature will reconvene later this year and again consider the bill. The legislature adjourned after meeting late into the night Thursday.

The city needed the state Senate and Assembly to each pass what’s called “home rule” legislation. That would allow the city to start collecting 1 percent in sales tax now being collected by St. Lawrence County.

What’s it worth? An extra 1 percent of sales tax collected could be as much as $1.5 million, city officials say.

The bill passed the state Senate with a big push from state Senator Patty Ritchie. But Assemblyman Mark Walczyk wasn’t able to get the bill up for a vote in the state Assembly, despite what his spokesman described as weeks of work.

“We’ll work with assemblyman Walczyk’s staff to determine a way forward. And garner the support we need to get this bill out of committee and to the full floor for a vote,” Stephen Jellie, Ogdensburg’s city manager, said Friday.

Ogdensburg officials have warned of deep cuts to the city’s work force in 2022 if they don’t get the money.

“We could be looking at significant cuts in some of our major departments, again in the coming fiscal year, and that’s really unfortunate,” Jellie said.

Neither Jellie nor Mayor Mike Skelly would comment on which departments might be in line for cuts.

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