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Ogdensburg Housing Authority approves 2014-2015 budget


The Ogdensburg Housing Authority Board of Directors has approved a $2,555,160 spending plan for the 2014-2015 fiscal year that includes job cuts and fee increases.

Housing Authority board Chairman Michael P. Frary said the organization, which manages rent-controlled housing and several other properties in Ogdensburg, is limited in how much it can increase its revenue.

“We’ve made a lot of cuts,” he said of this year’s budget, which is $74,160 less than the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget.

Part of the savings come from eliminating a position held by maintenance employee Gregory J. Denny, who will be out of a job at the end of the month.

The new spending plan also calls for demoting Maintenance Supervisor and Modernization Coordinator Thomas R. Bouchey, who will take over as the senior maintenance employee and receive a $6,400 pay cut.

In addition to position cuts, the Housing Authority will also begin raising fees, for instance asking $50 instead of $25 for people to get back into their homes after they accidentally lock themselves out. The authority is also increasing the flat-rent fees slightly for residents at Belmont Courts who qualify.

Authority Executive Director William J. Seymour Jr. said most people who live in rent-controlled housing pay roughly 30 percent of their income for housing.

For some people who make enough money, they have the option of either paying 30 percent of their income or the flat rate fee, whichever is less.

This year’s budget will see the flat rate fees increase by $25, Mr. Seymour said.

The just-approved budget is also an attempt to rein in spending after the authority approved a budget last year that was nearly $40,000 in the red.

Mr. Seymour and Mr. Frary wouldn’t discuss exactly where the problem was in last year’s budget, but Mr. Frary said, “We didn’t anticipate expenses going up.”

Mr. Seymour said in particular the authority was hit hard after Praetorian Insurance stopped carrying housing authorities, and they were forced to switch to the Housing Authority Insurance Group with an annual increase in costs totaling $30,000.

“That was a big part of it,” Mr. Seymour said.

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