By JIMMY LAWTON
OGDENSBURG -- Ogdensburg City Council passed a resolution Monday calling for a more equitable power project agreement between the Local Government Task Force and the New York Power Authority.
The Local Government Task Force includes representatives from the towns of Lisbon, Massena, Louisville and Waddington and their respective school districts.
The group is currently negotiating with NYPA over a licensing settlement agreement for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project.
Under the contract that was finalized in 2003, NYPA agreed to provide recreation and shoreline related benefits to provide a modest economic benefit package for the host communities
In return, the communities supported NYPA’s request for a 50-year license renewal for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project.
However in recent years, the task force discovered a “gross disparity” between the deal they received and a similar deal worked out between the NYPA and Western New York communities in the Niagara Power Project.
A resolution passed by the city council offers support to the host communities in their attempt to strike a deal that is equitable to what Western New Yorkers received.
“St. Lawrence County and the host community have been severely impacted by the loss of jobs due to the shutdown of the General Motor's facility in Massena and the Alcoa shutdown of the Massena East Plant,” the resolution says. “In 2001 New York Power Authority promised to work with the Governor to bring new jobs to the North Country if economic conditions ever forced the shutdown of General Motors and/or Alcoa; and New York Power Authority's economic performance over the past decade has allowed it to provide significant economic support to the state, Western New York, the metropolitan New York City area, and other communities throughout the state.”
However city councilors and members of the task force believe the towns most affected by the project have been neglected.
City councilors say a more equitable deal should be hashed out now as a 10-year review of the agreement is currently underway.
Members of the task force have been circulating petitions and calling on state officials in order to raise awareness of the perceived disparity.
Ogdensburg Mayor William Nelson said the towns most affected by the project have been supportive of the city’s efforts in the past and that a more equitable deal with NYPA would be beneficial for Ogdensburg and the rest of St. Lawrence County.
The resolution passed unanimously and will be forwarded to NYPA, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and several state legislators.