Press-Republican

May 18, 2013

Terms set for Tourism Committee members

DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

MALONE — Terms of appointment for Franklin County Tourism Advisory Committee members were drawn at random from red plastic bowls — for one, two or three years.

The names of those who will decide Franklin County’s future tourism initiatives were announced earlier this month; during the County Legislature meeting on Thursday, an impartial person pulled slips of paper with each name from one bowl then matched them with a slips of paper with the term from another. 

Those on the committee for three years are: Lesley Lyon, owner of Sunday Pond Bed and Breakfast in Lake Clear, representing tourist home, inn, cottage, condominium, vacation-rental owners; Stephanie Radcliff, of the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, representing attractions; and Derek Sprague of the Malone Golf Club, representing retail/restaurant owners.

On the committee for two years are Julian Hutton, manager of The Point in Tupper Lake, representing accommodations; Bruce Monette, owner of Titus Mountain Family Ski Center, representing recreation owners; and Chris LaBarge, owner of the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Malone, representing accommodations.

Those serving one-year terms are Michelle Clement, events coordinator for Tupper Lake as an at-large member; Gil Paddock of Deer River Campsite in Malone, representing camping; and a person to be named later from the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort as an at-large member.

LAW NEEDS STATE OK

Tourism Director Fawn Tatro said she will contact the members soon to set the committee’s first meeting and determine when and where their future sessions will be held.

She said the committee members would likely get organized and familiarized with each other and then name a chairperson during its first session. 

Three committee members — Lyon, Monette and LaBarge — had been part of an occupancy-tax committee the county formed to look at the wisdom of charging a 5 percent fee on overnight guests.

The funds collected would be dedicated to tourism initiatives that the committee would recommend to the County Legislature for final approval.

A local law was adopted by the county and will be sent to the State Legislature for approval and then to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said in the past he will approve no new taxes.

But legislators are hopeful he will be convinced to allow the issue to be a home-rule decision so the county would not need the state’s blessing to begin charging the fee.

The bed tax would apply to vacation-rental properties, bed-and-breakfasts, cottages, condominiums, hotels and motels and be tracked and enforced by the County Treasurer’s Office.

Legislators expect the fee, if OK’d, would take in between $350,000 and $400,000 a year.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com