By the skin of its teeth, the city will submit an application for housing rehabilitation funds this year.
At its Monday meeting, the City Council approved the application for up to $400,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds ahead of a Friday deadline.
The Development Authority of the North Country wrote the grant, and if the city is successful, will manage the program.
Matthew A. Taylor, a DANC housing development specialist, told the city that he would prepare the grant at no cost.
Council members were happy to get the application in before deadline.
Thank you very much for the quick turnaround, said Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley.
When the previous housing administrator, C.W. Augustine of DeKalb Junction, declined to write and administer the grant in a memo to city officials on July 9, Ogdensburg scrambled to find a replacement.
Mayor William D. Nelson took it upon himself to contact James W. Wright, DANC executive director, who agreed to step in.
When Mr. Wright says it is time to get to work in Ogdensburg, we get to work, said Mr. Taylor. The city and DANC have yet to determine a mechanism for selecting properties for rehabilitation. But Mr. Taylor said the grant would focus on an area around Ford Street if awarded.
Though Community Development Block Grants are funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the money is awarded by the New York State Office of Community Renewal through a competitive process.
In 2011, Ogdensburgs grant application was unsuccessful despite recognition of the citys need for housing rehabilitation by state officials, a failure C.W. Augustine blamed on turmoil in city hall.
The matter of C.W. Augustine, which continues to administer the previous years grant programs for Ogdensburg, still sits before the City Council. Some council members have discussed their desire to sever the citys relationship with the firm.
The council frequently has complained about the quality of work in housing rehabilitation around the city, citing inconsistent inspections and poor selection of candidates for renovation and demolition. Council members also have taken issue with the firms infrequent updates on the programs progress.