OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) – A pair of bills in the state legislature would allow Ogdensburg to tax the significant amount of state-owned land in the city.
Bills in both the state Assembly and Senate share the same goal: to have New York state pay tax money on property it owns in the city of Ogdensburg.
The state owns 30% of the land in Ogdensburg. City councillors have been pushing for state lawmakers to introduce this legislation.
Assemblyman Scott Gray introduced his bill on March 7. It has been referred to the Assembly Real Property Taxation Committee.
Gray says if this bill gets passed, Ogdensburg would have authority on properties such as the closed Ogdensburg Correctional Facility and parts of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center campus.
“The municipalities, in this case, Ogdensburg, would have the opportunity to develop that land or recommission that property and it would be producing some level of income for the city,” said Gray (R. – 116th District).
State Senator Mark Walczyk introduced a similar bill in February. It has been referred to the Senate Local Government Committee.
Both bills call for an amendment to the state’s real property tax law, allowing the taxation of state property in Ogdensburg.
The bills make mention of a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement, through which some cities, like Albany, collect substantial payments from the state.
Walczyk says Ogdensburg has the right idea of having a program set within the city as the state also occupies 90% of the Ogdensburg waterfront.
“So they very rightly so are coming to the state legislature and saying, ‘Hey, look, there’s a lot of other municipalities across the state of New York that can either tax state land directly or some kind of payment in lieu of taxes, but they get something from the state for all of that state land that’s owned within the municipality,” said Walczyk (R. – 49th District).
Both Gray and Walczyk are not alone in their mission to have the state pay taxes.
There is one other bill that was submitted by State Assemblyman Matthew Simpson would make the state pay taxes on any closed prisons across the state.
If any of the three bills get passed, money could soon be paid to a community looking for ways to combat a budgeting crisis.