Assemblyman Gray pushes for the state to pay taxes on its Ogdensburg properties

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 3:50 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - “Ogdensburg is having financial difficulty, as we all know, and this would certainly go a long way to helping them,” said Assemblyman Scott Gray.

Gray has been working to get a bill passed in the State Assembly that would allow the City of Ogdensburg to tax state-owned, abandoned properties in the city like the former Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and parts of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.

Gray says those properties being vacant puts a financial strain on the city.

“This is property that should otherwise be developed and appropriately taxed like all the other properties in Ogdensburg, and this is really constraining Ogdensburg revenue. Right? Which, is really creating part of the budget shortfall,” said Gray.

Ogdensburg City Manager Mohideen Buharie agrees.

“If it is going to be vacant, I think it will be best for the city to be able to get some tax revenue because we are in a financial- Financially we are strapped right now, and this will definitely help us,” said Buharie.

Earlier this year, Gray added an amendment excluding the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority from being taxed, but he says there’s still a long way to go before the legislative session ends on June 8th.

“We’ve amended it once and we probably will have to make further amendments to try to get it. But there’s another companion bill in the state that taxes or puts a payment in lieu of taxes on all the state vacated prisons around the site, so we think there may be some effort in the next session to try and combine those bills, but we’ll see,” said Gray.

Similar efforts have been made by State Senator Mark Walczyk who is pushing a sister bill in the Senate.

If Gray’s or Walczyk’s bills become law, the city could then see more revenue coming in.

Only 10 days remain, however, before the end of this legislative session on June 8th.