Board Clerk Gloria Valone reminded the members that if significant changes are made to the local law as presented, the entire process would have to start over again with a revised document and new public hearings set.
And that could delay the early January deadline legislators had given themselves to have a local law in place so, when the State Legislature convenes for its first 2013 session, they could seek the state’s permission to start collecting bed tax.
Vacation rentals led to an exchange about people on Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Chateaugay Lake, Lake Titus and other places who move out of shoreline property for a short time and rent them out.
The draft law states that a bed tax is to be charged for stays of 29 days or less, but any stay longer than that means the room is considered a permanent residence and is not subject to the tax.
Some argued that those who rent out space in their homes are not lodging professionals and should not be subject to a bed tax at all.
Board Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) said there were also concerns about south-end bed-and-breakfasts changing their business models to rental bungalows and vacation properties so they would no longer be subject to State Department of Health regulations.
But no matter the questions raised at the public hearings, the bottom line for County Manager Thomas Leitz is to see that a law passes so sales-tax revenue can grow.
“As the guy who does the budget, I don’t care if Franklin County takes a penny for administration (of the bed tax),” he said. “The biggie is the sales-tax dollars. That can leverage six to seven figures in sales tax.”
Email Denise A. Raymo: firstname.lastname@example.org