Press-Republican

March 22, 2013

Tourism-committee nominations sought

DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

MALONE — People interested in serving on a committee to prioritize tourism projects in Franklin County are being urged to contact their legislator before April 4.

During a recent review of a draft occupancy-tax law, which would charge a fee of up to 5 percent on overnight guests, legislators agreed to increase the number of people on its Tourism Advisory Committee from seven to nine.

Legislators will also create a list of tourism-related business owners who would be invested in the process and willing to serve on the Tourism Advisory Committee.

STAGGERED TERMS

Those interested are asked to contact their legislators within the next week and include background information about their business and why they should be chosen.

Their qualifications would be discussed by the legislators before an April 4 meeting, when they will discuss who will serve the staggered terms.

At least two of the nine must be from the south end of the county and specifically include one person from Tupper Lake and one from Saranac Lake.

In related action, legislators decided Thursday to hold a second series of public hearings on its proposed bed-tax law.

The first is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, at the Harrietstown Town Hall board room, followed at 7 p.m. at the Tupper Lake Village Offices.

The final public hearing is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, April 18, during the County Legislature’s regular meeting in the fourth-floor Legislative Chambers of the County Courthouse in Malone.

All meetings are open to the public. 

VARIED MEMBERSHIP

In addition to changing the TAC membership size from seven to nine, minor tweaking of the proposal was done following the first round of public hearings and posted on the county’s website at www.franklincony.org.

The committee, which will advise Tourism Promotion Agent Fawn Tatoo, will determine what tourism activities would be funded with the estimated $350,000 to $400,000 expected to be generated by an occupancy tax. 

It would also decide how county-budget money allotted to tourism would be spent until the anticipated bed-tax revenue reaches a certain threshold.

The idea is to eventually have that source pay for all tourism-related activities in the county instead of property taxes.

The draft law calls for two representatives from accommodations, two at-large members from any field and one each from an attraction, recreation, retail/restaurant, camping and a tourist home, such as an inn, cottage, condominium, vacation-rental property or bed and breakfast establishment.

READY TO START

There was also discussion of having the at-large seats filled by persons with marketing and promotion experience and possibly someone with a local-history background.

The committee established by the County Legislature to study bed tax and draft the law favored creation of the Tourism Advisory Committee to learn about existing tourism programs, services and initiatives so that if and when the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo approve creation of the tax, members will be ready to start their work.

But even if the bed-tax measure fails, legislators believe having the committee in place makes sense to get the most out of existing tourism efforts.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

+++++

CONTACTS

Reach Franklin County legislators by phone using the County Directory posted under quick links on the county's website at franklincony.org or through the following email addresses: