DENISE A. RAYMO
MALONE — Franklin County is giving an Essex County group $25,000 to promote Saranac Lake.
A resolution passed last week by a vote of 5 to 1, with one absence, awarded the money to the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) as part of an $85,000 overall promotional plan for the Village of Saranac Lake and towns of North Elba and Harrietstown for Franklin and Essex counties.
Franklin County Legislator Guy “Tim” Smith (D-Fort Covington) said he could not support the measure because the idea benefits one section of the county over another and could lead to funding requests from other places.
“We do have our own tourism agency, and we’d be opening this all up,” he said, adding that other municipalities will see Saranac Lake getting special funding and want the same.
He also said he sided with Legislator Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake), who questions why his community was left out of the plans if the Tri-Lakes area is what ROOST is promoting.
During a presentation last month from Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Craig Stevens, it was explained that Tupper Lake would be added once the initial effort is successful in Saranac Lake.
Maroun was absent from the legislature meeting and so did not vote.
Stevens had also said that for every county dollar spent on the promotion plan, the return would be at least $30 the first year, $45 the second year and $60 the third year.
ROOST is expected to hire at least one person and maybe a part-time employee dedicated to promoting Saranac Lake.
Legislators had added an extra $75,000 to its 2013 tourism budget with suggestions to divide it between a St. Lawrence County-based fishing-promotion program called FISHCAP, a grant writer/consultant and development of agri-tourism opportunities.
But with the award to ROOST, it is not known how the rest of the funds will be split up.
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