Ogdensburg lawmakers to talk about changing city to town or village

OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) – Ogdensburg officials are considering changing the city to a town or village in the hopes of saving money.

A resolution is on Monday night’s Ogdensburg City Council agenda. If passed, the city would study the potential pros and cons of changing the city to a town or village.

“This just has to do with the amount of money we’re taking in, versus the amount of money we’re spending on any given year,” said Stephen Jellie, city manager.

Jellie points to the city’s financial issues. He says this idea was floated almost three years ago before he became city manager and says the city needs to think of new ways to help the city’s finances.

“We’ve got to have action, like, there has to be action on these things. We can’t just keep kicking the can down the road,” he said.

Mayor Mike Skelly says there could be some financial relief for the city if they make the move. He says the county would maintain certain bridges and roadways, and handle the policing.

Skelly says it wouldn’t cost any jobs. The caveat is that the city would not be eligible for as much state aid and sales tax revenue.

Skelly says he’s not sure if the benefits of converting to a town or village will be worth it, but he’ll certainly support the study.

“What the city staff is trying to do is just look forward for the city,” he said.

But not everybody is open to the idea. City Councilor Mike Powers says Ogdensburg should stay as a city, mainly because he doesn’t want Ogdensburg to lose out on grant money and other funding from the state – funding that’s only possible if they are designated as a city.

“With the city status change as a town or village, we’d have to apply to the county for monies for projects that we would need help with and we know how that relationship is at this point,” he said.

Powers admits he does expect Monday night’s resolution to pass.

Mayor Skelly says that would be a good thing.

“It gives us answers and, why would you not want the knowledge,” said the mayor.

Jellie says he’s not sure how much the study would cost. However, most of it would be done by the city with some outside legal and consulting fees.

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