Ogdensburg earmarks pandemic relief money for home repairs

OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) – In Ogdensburg, pandemic relief money is going to homeowners to make repairs.

Some projects at Chris Lalone’s house have been just waiting to get done. And this could be the year. Lalone was at city hall on day 1 of the city’s new home-repair program.

“This only comes once in a great while. The city is putting the money to good use. Let’s take advantage of it,” he said.

“The money” is federal pandemic relief money.

The city plans to pass out $261,000 of its share to homeowners. They can apply for $5,000 for an inside project and up to another $5,000 for an outdoor one.

“I see it all the time. People are trying to get by. They don’t have the money for a new furnace, maybe a new sewer line,” said

Mike Skelly, Ogdensburg mayor.

Local governments have things like firetrucks, water lines, emergency services, and salt sheds on their pandemic relief wish lists. Ogdensburg has dedicated the bulk of its funds so far to the community.

“We’ve really got to get the people, the businesses, the non-profits all back on their feet functioning efficiently. And government will follow and support that,” said Stephen Jellie, city manager.

Jellie said a city hall committee will pick which home repair projects get funded based on where the need is most critical.

In an earlier round of pandemic relief funding, the city dished out $173,000 to businesses and non-profits.

Seventeen businesses got grants. Wimpy’s Inn food truck saw sales sag during the pandemic. So they applied and received a small grant.

“Any little bit helps. So I jumped right on it,” said Julia Henry, Wimpy’s Inn owner. “I’ve never heard of anything like that and I had never applied for anything like that, so yeah, it was great.”

Jellie said it’s possible there could be a second round of home-repair grants if sales tax collections exceed expectations this year.

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