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Village painting Sunrise Mall; billing county for the work

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MASSENA — A summer crew from the village Department of Public Works has been working at the former Sunrise Mall after being directed to do so by Mayor James F. Hidy.

“We have summer help that I’ve instructed the DPW superintendent to utilize to help spruce up the business district in the village,” Mr. Hidy said, adding that the village also is repainting its downtown parking spaces and traffic safety markers.

Mr. Hidy said it was his intent to bill St. Lawrence County for the work, since the Sunrise Mall property was taken over by its previous owners after they failed to pay their property taxes.

“This property is currently owned by the county as a foreclosed property, and I have invoiced the county for this particular cleanup project,” he said, explaining the work was done without notifying the county. “I just did it.”

County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire said she didn’t know the work was being done until she received a bill for it at her office Thursday. “I wasn’t aware of it until I received a bill for $3,000,” she said. “The only notice we’ve received on this building was in mid-June that the grass needed to be cut.”

Ms. St. Hillaire said the county would pay to have the grass mowed and weeds cut, but she said painting the building is a different story.

Ms. St. Hilaire said that while the village is saying the county owns the property, its ownership is being debated in the courts.

“We can’t do anything with the building until that is settled,”Ms. St. Hilaire said.

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