“This could be an easy straightforward type of thing if the supervisors allocated a certain amount of money from each town. Going through these consolidated funding applications (to ROOST) could be years away.”
‘SPREAD IT AROUND’
Margaret Bartley said they’ve run into the same problem with the Elizabethtown-Lewis Chamber of Commerce.
She said ROOST’s funding application states that whatever use they’re putting the money to must generate more tax revenue.
“One of the questions that always comes up is how do you prove the money you’re spending from the bed tax brings more bed tax?” Bartley said.
“We have a limited number of beds in Elizabethtown. We have two motels and four B&Bs (bed-and-breakfasts).”
She said they send some people to neighboring communities for lodging.
“Whether they’re in your town or my town, we need actual support for these events that bring people into the county. A little bit spread around is going to help all of us and fertilize the (occupancy) tax.”
Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said it may be that a change in the enabling legislation for the lodging tax is needed.
As it stands now, the state legislation that created the tax allocates 95 percent of the collected money to ROOST.
McKenna told supervisors ROOST develops an annual marketing plan, with input from the County Occupancy Tax Advisory Board.
ROOST OK’d requests for $59,500 outside North Elba/Lake Placid so far this year, he said.
North Elba/Lake Placid generated about 89 percent of the tax, or $1.6 million last year, and that’s where most of it is spent.
“We want to spread it around,” he said.
McKenna said he and and his staff approve or disapprove the applications for bed-tax funds.