Another 25 percent of the new tax would be used to start a tourism product-development fund, Preston said, to “provide private investment with some help accomplishing some tourism-related projects in towns.”
The bulk of the funds, 46 percent, would be used for marketing the winter shoulder season, principally in the Lake Placid area.
“That should promote this county and, in theory, generate more sales tax,” Preston advised.
Finally, the remaining 4 percent would go to maintain some of the county’s CHAMP Public Transportation System, which operates daily bus service throughout the county.
“It is to go toward tourism-related transportation,” Preston said. “I don’t want that to be misinterpreted as us taking over the entire county bus system (with the bed tax).”
The extra tax revenue would be spent more on the county as a whole, he said.
“I know Lake Placid brings in a lot of money, but this is a bootstrap grassroots effort for tourism, not just for Lake Placid but out to Newcomb for their snowmobile trails and to Ticonderoga and these other places that ring Lake Placid.”
Most of the ROOST marketing efforts are concentrated on the Lake Placid area, with smaller amounts spent on Lake Champlain towns and other areas of the county.
Supervisor Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) said he would want any additional occupancy-tax money to go into the general fund, though.
“You’re taking control away from your board,” Hatch said.
Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) said Lake Placid generates 85 percent of the bed tax collected in Essex County, and he wouldn’t support giving the extra money to the general fund.
“We’re not taking anything away from the tourists; we’re doing some additional things,” Supervisor Daniel Connell (D-Westport) said of the request.