Ogdensburg looks to get NY to pay taxes on unused state-owned properties

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 3:56 PM EST
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Ogdensburg City Council is making moves to have the state of New York pay taxes on properties the city says have not been utilized in years.

Last March, the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility closed its doors - another state-owned property vacated in Ogdensburg.

Now, the city council is creating a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) task force to get the state to pay taxes on some of the properties it owns but leaves sitting in the city.

City Councillor John Rische created the task force and says the state needs to be held responsible for the empty properties.

“The idea of the task force was an idea that I came up with to basically promote the concept and to have strategy and meet with our elected officials and the powers that be in Albany,” he said.

The state owns about 30% of the property found in the city of Ogdensburg. That includes the closed Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and St. Lawrence County Psychiatric Center.

If the city is able to collect money on the state properties, it would help bring in badly needed revenue to a city that’s currently near the limit that it is allowed to tax its residents.

Councillor Dan Skamperle is on the task force and says getting the state to pay taxes on the property is one goal and another is to actually use the vacant land again.

“This psychiatric facility has some good vacant land that can be used for industrial usage in our industrial park. It’s right next to our industrial park. There’s buildings on this land that are still usable that could probably be sold to companies,” he said.

State Assemblyman Scott Gray is supportive of the direction Ogdensburg is going by creating this task force to hold the state accountable for the property is owns in the city.

“I think this will help provide a little bit of financial stability to Ogdensburg, so I look forward to any engagement with them,” said Gray (R. - 116th District).

Gray hopes to push the PILOT task force’s agenda in Albany during the current legislative session.