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Housing administrator, Ogdensburg planner to address council Tuesday

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OGDENSBURG — With a grant application deadline fast approaching, the City Council must decide the future of Ogdensburg’s housing programs.

The state’s Consolidated Funding Application is due July 16. That means the city’s housing administrator, C.W. Augustine of DeKalb Junction, needs guidance from the council, said David R. Weissbard, a grant application writer with the company.

“We need the council’s support,” he said. “We need to know how they want to proceed with these grants, and we need to know soon.”

The company’s president, James A. O’Neill, and interim City Planner Andrea L. Smith will give council members an update on the program Tuesay.

“One of the main things I’ll be doing is presenting a case on what the city’s options are for administering the program,” Ms. Smith said. “It’s not so much about how good or bad our relationship with C.W. Augustine is; it is more about what our needs are with the program and informing the council so they can make a good decision.”

Controversy has surrounded the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which used state and federal funds to demolish and rehabilitate properties around the city. The council questioned whether the city should maintain its working relationship with C.W. Augustine.

Mr. Weissbard said the city was left out of the last round of state funding due to controversy among council members, not his company’s performance.

“We had grant applications, which were highly rated by the state,” he said. “The agencies took a look at the political situation in Ogdensburg and decided not to put their money there.”

Ogdensburg struggles with an aging and depleted housing stock, Mr. Weissbard said, and the need for a vigorous housing program remains.

“You can drive down any street in the city and see the need right there,” he said. “We keep getting calls from the people on the housing program’s waiting list. There is a need and money available from the state, but the political will to do something has to be there.”

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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