Ogdensburg sales tax resolution will be on St. Lawrence County’s Finance Committee agenda
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators will revisit a resolution regarding support of home rule legislation that would allow Ogdensburg to collect the last percentage of sales tax generated there.
The motion was put forward by Legislator David Forsythe at the July 15 meeting. He pointed out that the city supported the county’s effort to do the same in its time of need and said he believed the county should be supportive of home rule legislation for city residents.At issue is the long-standing dispute over sales tax between the county and city, which has led the city to break away from the county and begin collecting its own sales tax. However, a home rule law passed in 2014 allows the county to collect an additional 1% of sales tax. The city had sought to get the same permission to keep that additional 1% of sales tax generated within the city limits through home rule legislation, which passed in the Senate but failed in the Assembly.
Many believe the Assembly did not pass the bill due to a lack of county support.
St. Lawrence County Legislator Joseph Lightfoot opposed the resolution at the full board meeting, stating he believed the resolution should go through the proper channels and committees, not voted on from the floor.
On July 26 the resolution will in fact go before the Finance Committee.
At the previous meeting legislators James Reagen, Rita Curran and Forsyth offered support for the resolution, but other legislators said they wanted more information about how the additional tax collection in Ogdensburg would impact the county and town shares, which are percentage based.
The county’s decision to table the resolution prompted blasts from Ogdensburg City Manager Stephen Jellie last week.
He accused legislators Joseph Lightfoot, Kevin Acres and county Democrats of working against the City of Ogdensburg.
The city continues to state that if Ogdensburg isn’t successful in collecting the extra sales tax deep cuts will need to take place.
Numbers suggested by the mayor indicated that both the city police and fire department could be kept at 18 members.
Additionally the city has indicated it is interested in performing a study that would determine the feasibility of the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s office absorbing smaller police agencies, like the Ogdensburg Police Department.