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Ogdensburg council to discuss several topics

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OGDENSBURG — Housing, tobacco, a city manager and a Zamboni — though seemingly unrelated, the City Council will tackle all of these issues tonight.

“There’s a lot of workshop issues that we need to address and we really don’t have enough time at the council meetings to do them,” said Councilman Wayne L. Ashley.

At the committee-of-the-whole meeting, council members will discuss the future of the city’s relationship with housing program administrator C.W. Augustine of DeKalb Junction.

Earlier this month, the firm declined to write a Community Development Block Grant on the city’s behalf. Andrea L. Smith, Ogdensburg’s interim director of planning and development, said she is working with the Development Authority of the North Country to put together an application.

“We intend to submit one. We’re just trying to follow up with our granting agencies on our application last year to determine our eligibility this year,” she said. “We’re just checking with them to make sure it is worthwhile to put forth an application.”

The meeting also will serve as a public hearing for the grant application.

The council will review possible changes to the city’s charter relating to hiring a city manager, as well. Currently, the charter calls for managers to serve an indefinite term. Council members have asked to limit the term’s length to gain greater powers of review over the position.

“We’re going to work that out in the committee-of-the-whole meeting,” said Councilman Daniel E. Skamperle. “I’m not sure when we’ll vote on it, though.”

No action items can be considered at the meeting. At the council’s next regular meeting, it will have to establish a public hearing on any proposed charter amendments before they can be voted into law.

A proposal to make all or portions of Ogdensburg’s parks tobacco-free also is on the agenda. At a July 16 meeting, Mr. Skamperle proposed reviving the city’s previous plans to prohibit tobacco use near playgrounds and picnic tables.

Council members also plan to discuss the need for a new Zamboni at the Richard G. Lockwood Civic Center. The facility’s 32-year-old Zamboni requires $24,000 in repairs, and the council needs to decide on a course of action soon, said Matthew J. Curatolo, director of parks and recreation.

“It is going to depend on what they want to do,” he said. “We have a proposal for a brand-new electric Zamboni. I also have a proposal for a couple new or used models and a proposal to fix our current one. We’re going to discuss what our next step is. We’re going to need ice pretty soon.”

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