From the desk of City Manager Sarah Purdy...
May 1, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed all aspects of our daily lives, both at work and at home. One of the biggest changes Ogdensburg’s City government is the transition to virtual meetings. It is one thing to accomplish this for routine internal meetings or business meetings with consultants. It is quite another to accomplish it for mass gatherings at a public meeting, particularly when mass gatherings are not the norm for these meetings.
Right now, City staff are addressing the capacity issues that occurred last night and are working to optimize participation in accordance with the New York State Open Meetings Law and with the Governor’s Executive Orders regarding public access to public meetings during the pandemic.
There is another public process coming up that also requires the provision of adequate public access. It is the ability to challenge your assessment. Usually it is accomplished by meeting with the Assessor, at her office in City Hall, to present information the property owner feels the assessor should take into consideration in order to change the assessed value through what is referred to as a “stipulation.” These meetings take place during publicly noticed times when the Assessor is available, and these times are referred to as when the Assessor is “sitting with the tentative assessment roll.” These meetings will be scheduled for the end of May, after the assessment rolls have been finalized and published.
If, in the Assessor’s professional judgment, the information given during one of these sessions does not warrant a change in the assessed value, then the property owner can appeal to the Board of Assessment Review (BAR). Usually, the BAR has several publicly noticed meetings at City Hall when property owners can come in to make their appeal, which is more commonly referred to as a “grievance.” These BAR meetings are scheduled to begin on June 16.
With the recent issuance of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 202.22, Assessors and BAR’s are now permitted to undertake the grievance process virtually, and the Town of Potsdam has announced its online grievance process. The City is working to set this process up online also, so that all property owners who wish to appeal their assessments have the public access required to do so, both with the Assessor in a few weeks and with the BAR next month.
Meanwhile, be hopeful, stay safe, stay healthy and stay together yet six feet apart. “Take 5 for New York” by calling someone and chatting for five minutes. To access the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department’s information please go to the County’s website at www.stlawco.org . In addition, here are links to several other sources of COVID-19 information that you may find useful.
Department of Labor Cares Act Information
US Small Business Administration
St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency
Governor Cuomo’s Website
New York State Department of Health
Protect Yourself & Stop the Spread of Germs
What You Need to Know
Please revisit this page for important updates from the City of Ogdensburg.