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OBPA Executive Director urges state to make port chief stockpile location

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OGDENSBURG — New York state truckers and longshoremen could lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars if the state does not designate the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority as its chief stockpile location, Executive Director Wade A. Davis said.

The state Office of General Services places bids on behalf of the state Department of Transportation for road salt.

A contract awarded to the North American Salt Co. for DOT truckers in Clinton and Franklin counties at 30,640 and 28,000 tons, respectively, says that DOT truckers can collect salt from stockpiles in Ogdensburg or Sainte-Catherine, Quebec.

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is “strongly urging” the state Office of General Services to exercise its discretion allowed under the bid terms and conditions to specify the stockpile location as Ogdensburg, Mr. Davis said.

The OBPA does not own the salt, but handles it before it is shipped out by DOT, companies and local municipalities.

Last year, more than $300,000 was paid to longshoremen and related union workers employed at the Port of Ogdensburg who moved more than 150,000 tons of salt through the port. If the stockpile location is changed to Sainte-Catherine, all of this economic opportunity for state residents, including the minority and women businesses component, will be lost, Mr. Davis said.

“The downside would be that the New York state public funds through taxes would be used to fund Canadian jobs that would go to Canadian stevedores,” Mr. Davis said Thursday. “Many families depend on these paychecks. We’re going to continue to do everything we can to bring the stockpile to Ogdensburg.”

State bids contain language providing preference for state and minority- and women-owned business enterprises.

“I am certain that you share in the desire to protect New York state jobs and respectfully request immediate assistance in directing the state Office of General Services to exercise their discretion allowed under the bid terms and conditions to specify the stockpile location as Ogdensburg. This will secure jobs and economic opportunity for New York residents,” Mr. Davis said in a letter to Chief Procurement Officer Sergio Paneque.

The location used will not affect the bid price since the company specified in Ogdensburg or Sainte-Catherine is a stockpile location, Mr. Davis said.

“I thank our elected officials and contacts at state agencies for going the extra mile and abdicating to keep these jobs in the state at a time in the year where there isn’t a lot of economic activity going on,” Mr. Davis said. “I can’t stress how important it is to try get the state to specify the stockpile location in Ogdensburg.”

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