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Tue., Sep. 1
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Gov. Cuomo veto could cost Ogdensburg City School hundreds of thousands


OGDENSBURG — The $56 million Ogdensburg City School building project could become more expensive in the wake of a veto handed down by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this month.

Senate Bill 6395 provided that payments for construction projects would begin 18 months after approval by the state Board of Education. The governor’s veto pushed back that timeframe, meaning the state will not begin issuing payments until 18 months after the project ends.

“We were very surprised because it only affects a small amount of schools,” said Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey of the veto.

Because the school district will still need to foot the initial bill through local loans, the decision by Mr. Cuomo means the school will be paying more in interest. This could mean the school will have to restructure the rest of the building project that is currently in phase two with construction being done at Madill and Kennedy elementary schools.

Renovations at Ogdensburg Free Academy are slated to begin next spring.

“It might push the project out a little bit,” Mr. Vernsey said.

Jeff Swanson, school business manager, said at the Board of Education meeting Monday night that the veto means the project “could take maybe another year to year and a half relying on local loans and paying interest.”

Taking the current interest rate of 1.25 percent, or $700,000 a year, Mr. Swanson said, “If the whole project gets pushed out a year and a half, that’s an extra one million.”

Mr. Swanson believes this is part of the state’s effort to reduce its own costs in the short term, forcing localities to deal with current expenses with the promise of reimbursing them in the future.

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