Court rules county must collect Ogdensburg’s delinquent property taxes

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 12:04 PM EDT
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ALBANY, New York (WWNY) - New York state’s highest court has affirmed lower court rulings that St. Lawrence County must collect Ogdensburg’s delinquent property taxes.

The city changed its charter so the county would handle enforcement of unpaid city taxes, along with foreclosures, and crediting Ogdensburg for unpaid city taxes. Before that, the city would handle the collections itself.

The city argued it should get the same treatment as the county’s towns and villages, where the county makes them whole for uncollected taxes.

The county took the city to state Supreme Court. In December 2021, Judge Mary Farley sided with the city and dismissed the county’s petition to block the move.

The state’s Appellate Division upheld the lower court ruling and now the state Court of Appeals has agreed.

Six of the panel’s seven justices voted in favor of the ruling. The seventh was not involved in the case.

The county argued that the city’s amendment to its charter — known as Local Law No. 2 — was in violation of the state’s Real Property Tax Law. The Court of Appeals ruled, however, that nothing in the state’s laws or constitution prevents the city from having the county responsible for delinquent taxes.

“We conclude that Local Law No. 2 does not violate the statutory and constitutional protections at issue, but effectuates a power the legislature granted to cities wishing to revoke their initial opt-out from article 11,” the ruling said.

Article 11 is part of the Real Property Tax Law that covers collecting unpaid property taxes.

The ruling calls for the county to pay the city’s legal fees.