Lawmaker amends bill to allow Ogdensburg to tax vacant state-owned land

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 4:45 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Changes have been made to a bill in Albany that could help Ogdensburg collect money on state property within city limits.

In March, Assemblyman Scott Gray submitted a bill for Ogdensburg to allow the taxation of property owned by the state of New York.

Since then, a change has been made. There’s now an exemption for property owned by Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, a state entity.

The change comes at the request of the governor’s office.

“It was never the intention to tax the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. They have economic value to the region, they have an economic impact to the region, they’re vital to the region in terms of the economy,” said Gray (R. - 116th District).

What is targeted is the closed Ogdensburg state prison and rundown parts of the old St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. Both are on land within city limits and no taxes are paid. The bill aims to change that.

“You’re not maintaining this property, you’re not doing anything with it. It either has to be repurposed or you owe the city and the taxpayer of the city of Ogdensburg something for that,” said Gray.

City Councillor Mike Powers didn’t know about the amendment and how it was needed, and he wasn’t alone.

“The Bridge and Port Authority was not aware of it and, you know, ultimately, we agreed to carve it out and to continue it on so we could get the other properties,” said Powers.

Gray’s bill in the Assembly is matched with something similar in the state Senate through Senator Mark Walcyzck.