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Ogdensburg mulling fees for oversized, overweight truck permits

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The city could cash in on trucks bearing oversized and overweight cargo along its streets to take a load off taxpayers and find new streams of revenue for the city’s depleted coffers.

“Currently, there’s no charge,” City Manager John M. Pinkerton said. “If we have to have police out there and do the administrative work for the permits, it is at a cost to the city.”

At its Monday meeting, the City Council tabled a proposal instituting a $100 permit charge for the trucks.

“I’d like to see something more specific, with a tier system,” Councilor Jennifer L. Stevenson said.

Currently, trucks bearing oversized or overweight cargo are required to seek a permit from the Department of Public Works, which approves the routing of vehicles and arranges a police escort if necessary at no charge.

Most cities and the state have adopted regulations limiting the amount of weight a vehicle can bear per axle and tire, and limitations on vehicle length and width, requiring notification and the purchase of a permit. The state Department of Transportation reroutes oversized and overweight cargo to ensure it doesn’t pass over roadways unable to accommodate the trucks. Ogdensburg has adopted state standards for oversized and overweight loads.

Mr. Smith said the state routes overweight loads through Ogdensburg to avoid bridges on Route 37.

Mayor William D. Nelson voiced support for the new fee.

“These trucks tear our streets up,” he said. “I think it is a good way to get a little bit of revenue in.”

Other council members were concerned the regulations might unnecessarily encumber residents moving Amish-built garden sheds onto their property.

“I don’t want to hurt the little guy,” Councilor Daniel E. Skamperle said. “I don’t care about charging the bigger guys with their windmills.”

The council requested Mr. Smith redraft the policy, creating a sliding scale so property owners would not pay as much as major haulers bypassing Route 37 or transiting the Port of Ogdensburg.

“Using a sliding scale is more complicated,” Mr. Smith said. “I’m trying to keep it simple and get us a new revenue stream. Most permits we’ve issued, most companies we’re dealing with come from out of state.”

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority said a permit fee would not weigh down its port business, which has been marketed as an expert facility in oversized, overweight cargo.

“The Port of Ogdensburg is a great location for commerce and industry due to its location and the fundamentals of the port,” Executive Director Wade A. Davis said. “The authority recognizes the city of Ogdensburg’s ability to self-determine charges for oversized and overweight loads which pass through the city and will support any decision made by the city in this regard.”

Last year, more than 1,000 oversized truckloads of wind turbine parts left the port for a wind farm in Churubusco.

The council could take up the permit fees again at its Feb. 11 meeting.

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