Ogdensburg City Council expecting to take massive hit on sales tax in 2022
CORRECTION - An earlier version of this story listed Angela Gray as acting comptroller, in fact she has been designated as comptroller. North Country This Week regrets the error.
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
OGDENSBURG — Ogdensburg City Council is expecting to take a massive hit on sales tax in 2022 due to pre-emption plans and the state’s failure to grant the city’s request for home rule legislation.
Sales tax revenues are expected to drop by $1.5 million. A proposed 10 percent property tax reduction would also reduce revenues by $556,000.Comptroller Angela Gray explained to councilors Monday, Nov. 22 how the city arrived at the sales tax estimates.
At issue is the city’s decision to pre-empt the county on sales tax generated within the city due to failed negotiations over tax sharing between the two entities.
The city will continue to receive it’s portion of the county sales tax until March of 2022 and then will begin collecting its own.
In the first quarter of 2022, Gray said she expected the city will receive about $939,000 in sales tax.
She estimated the city will receive an additional $2 million over the course of the remaining nine months, thus budgeting about $2.9 million in sales tax revenues.
That’s down from $4.4 million which the city would have received under the previous arrangement.
“We are losing about $1.5 million because of the county's decision not to continue the agreement,” Deputy Mayor John Rishe said.
Gray pointed out that the revenues would be much higher if the city were able to secure home rule legislation that would allow the city to receive a portion of the additional 1 percent sales tax levied by the county.
However, the city failed to secure that legislation last year. Although Sen. Patty Ritchie got approval in the Senate, Assemblyman Mark Walczyk fell short in the Assembly.
Jellie said efforts are underway to remedy that situation and if successful, the city could add as much as $2 million in sales tax revenues. However, the city is budgeting conservatively, and not factoring in that potential boost in sales tax revenue collected under the home rule legislation should it eventually pass.
Mayor Jeffrey Skelly said securing the home rule legislation is crucial for the future of Ogdensburg.
He criticized the county for its decision to cut Ogdensburg’s share of sales tax.
City Manager Stephen Jellie said the county is on pace to bring in an additional $9 million in sales tax this year.
He said it’s confusing why they are seeking to take money away from the city when the sales tax revenues are going up.
“It defies logic why we want to blow up something that’s worked for so long,” he said.
Although the budgeted $1.5 million cut to sales tax revenues is substantial, Councilor Dan Skamperle questioned if the estimate was conservative enough.
Gray said the numbers were conservative and based on the best data the city could find.