Press-Republican

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December 9, 2012

Bed-tax increase put on hold

(Continued)

ELIZABETHTOWN —

Actually, supervisors say the Fish Hatchery would be the best use of the money, since the fish it stocks support sports tourism in the county.

The Lake Placid-Essex County Visitors Bureau, now known as the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, gets 95 percent of the 3 percent tax now collected. The other 5 percent goes to the county for administration.

The 3 percent tax brings in about $1.5 million a year.

COUNTY CONTROL

County Attorney Daniel Manning III said that once the resolution is passed he will create a local law, it will go to the State Legislature, and a public hearing will be held.

The request will be to amend the Home Rule legislation granting the original tax to increase the amount from 3 to 5 percent.

“That’s what we’re asking, to amend it,” Manning said. “This resolution will go down to Albany, and Albany will begin the process of drafting the bill.”

He suggested the remainder of the money, after the Fish Hatchery is funded, simply be placed in a board-controlled tourism fund, instead of specific projects.

ROOST tightly controls its 3 percent, Supervisor Margaret Bartley (D-Elizabethtown) said, so placing any new revenue under county control would be beneficial.

“I have seen the frustration our Chamber of Commerce has had (getting bed-tax money). We have not be able to get $300 out of ROOST to promote Elizabethtown-Lewis. And we have motels paying the tax. We have not been able to get any help.”

She moved to table the resolution so they could refine the usage and satisfy lodging owners’ concerns.

“I also have gotten phone calls (from owners),” Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) said. “Those players are in the game and should be part of the planning.”

All supervisors present except Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) voted to table the resolution. Supervisor Michael Marnell (R-Schroon) was absent, and Joyce Morency (R-St. Armand) died recently.

Most lawmakers spoke in favor of the extra 2 percent and said the resolution would be brought back once details were worked out.

“I think this is creating a tool to do things that we can’t do with our existing tax,” Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) said.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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