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Tupper Lake trustee wants tourism funds equally distributed

November 21, 2012
By JESSICA COLLIER - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

TUPPER LAKE - If Franklin County is going to give tourism money to Saranac Lake, village Trustee Rick Donah wants to make sure Tupper Lake is involved.

Donah spoke at the end of a village board meeting Monday night in response to a story in Monday's Enterprise on several Saranac Lake area officials asking the county to contribute $25,000 to an effort to market Saranac Lake through the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

Harrietstown town Councilman Ron Keough touted the idea as a regional marketing effort at the county meeting.

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"If there's going to be truly a regional economic effort here, it would be nice to be included in that decision," Donah said Monday night.

Paul Maroun, village mayor and Tupper Lake's representative on the Franklin County Board of Legislators, made the same argument at the county meeting Thursday. Saranac Lake officials responded that they wanted to start small to make sure the program would work; then they hope to expand it in the future.

The group of town of Harriestown, village of Saranac Lake and Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce officials said they're looking for $20,000 each from the village, town and a group of private contributors in addition to the county funds.

Monday night, Donah called the effort not neighborly. He said ROOST is probably one of the best marketing organizations in the country, and Tupper Lake would be missing out if it's left out of the plan.

"Tupper Lake is part of this area, and it's called regional for a reason," Donah said.

He said any appropriations from Franklin County for tourism efforts should be distributed evenly.

"I think we're suffering enough," Donah said, referring to the Adirondack Club and Resort, a development that has been delayed by a lawsuit over the state Adirondack Park Agency's approval of the project.

Donah noted that the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce was seeking money for an events coordinator position last year, and it drummed the money up between the town, village and chamber rather than approaching the county for funds.

Maroun noted Monday night that the county didn't make any decisions about whether to appropriate money to the effort yet.


Bed tax

ROOST is Essex County's tourism agency and is funded by a surcharge on top of stays in motels, hotels and bed and breakfasts, commonly referred to as a bed tax. Almost half of Saranac Lake is in Essex County, including most of its hotels, which is why Saranac Lake can take advantage of ROOST's marketing aid.

Donah noted that Tupper Laker Don Dew Jr. has been participating in planning to ask for a bed tax to be instituted in Franklin County.

Dew is part of a committee that has been putting together language for a bed tax law. Maroun said the committee is trying to come to terms on what the percentage charge should be and who has the final say on where the money generated is spent.

Maroun noted that in years past, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has refused to sign any new tax into law, so county officials aren't sure a bed tax would be instituted even if everyone agrees on how it should be implemented.

"We don't know what (Cuomo's) position is this year yet," Maroun said.



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