OGDENSBURG -- Ogdensburg City Council voted Thursday to limit public use of City Hall to weekdays in order to limit staffing costs.
The council unanimously approved a new policy, which will limit public use of City Hall meeting rooms from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
Ogdensburg Mayor William Nelson said the Dobisky Visitor Center will still be available for weekend use as it is already staffed.
According to the new municipal building policy, the city government functions will be given priority as long they are scheduled early enough to allow prior scheduling to be changed.
Councilor Wayne Ashley said he believed the law makes sense.
“We don’t need to city buildings open on the weekend. Economically wise this makes sense,” he said.
The law also states that no religious ceremonies will be allowed in City Hall. That law drew some concern from Deputy Mayor Mike Morley.
“The U.S. Constitution says freedom of religion, not freedom from religion,” he said.
City Manager John Pinkerton said the idea was to limit any problems that could arise from church and state separation issues.
Morley pointed out that religious ceremonies had been held in the lawn of City Hall in the past and questioned why this was different.
“It just seems like a strange clause,” Morley said. “I’m not going to ask it to be removed.”
Pinkerton said the policy was reviewed by the city’s attorney.
Anyone interested in using the meeting rooms in City Hall should call 393-6100.