Ogdensburg lawmakers talk new SROs, appoint new assessor

Ogdensburg city council meeting
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 5:36 AM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Ogdensburg city councillors are mulling the idea of adding two student resource officers to the city school district.

The idea came from a letter sent to the city by superintendent Kevin Kendall who says the district will cover the cost of hiring the officers.

A majority of city councillors voiced their favor for the move during a meeting Monday night.

It would bring the number of SROs in the district to three, allowing for one to be present in both elementary schools and at Ogdensburg Free Academy.

Police Chief Mark Kearns told councillors the move would be beneficial for both the school and the department.

The officers would be part time with the department during the school year and full time during the summer and other school breaks.

“With three SROs that is that much less burden that our officers on the road would have to handle as long as it is an Ogdensburg school district student,” Kearns said. “I don’t see why the school board wouldn’t be on board with that, being a wonderful idea.”

Councillor Dan Skamperle asked city manager Mohideen Buharie to draft a resolution to make the hire at the next meeting.

That resolution would need to take into account the current hiring freeze, which was put in place earlier this month.

Meanwhile, councillors voted unanimously to appoint Stephen Teele as acting city assessor after the former assessor, Mark Schnorr, resigned.

It’s unclear why he left the position.

Schnorr was in the middle of a massive reassessment by an outside firm that has drawn strong criticism from the public.

We have reported on a number of properties that have gone up by tens of thousands of dollars in value because of the reassessment.

Addressing the city-wide reassessment Monday night, councillors discussed several ideas.

John Rishe asked if the council had a way to modify or reject the projections from GAR Associates.

The city manager said the numbers proposed are not finalized, but he didn’t want to address that until the newly appointed assessor was brought in.

Rishe believes the city council only has until the assessment roll is established to make changes.

Mike Powers and Dan Skamperle showed support for lowering the percentage of assessed value increases.

Residents have until the end of this week to file a grievance with their assessments.