MALONE - Franklin County legislators last week further revised their proposal for a bed tax, and they plan to discuss it again at their regular meeting this Thursday.
The occupancy tax, which would add a 5 percent tax to stays in hotels, motels and other lodgings, was put together by a Bed Tax Committee made up of lodging owners from throughout the county, drawn largely from Essex and Clinton County's examples.
Changes to TAC
The bed tax law sets out that a Tourism Advisory Committee will develop a marketing plan for the county, using the funds raised through the bed tax.
The original law that went to hearings earlier this year had a seven-member TAC, with a representative from each of a number of tourism-related industries like lodging, recreation and retail. Last week, legislators decided it makes more sense to add two more representatives that aren't from specific industries, so there is space on it for someone like former county Tourism Director Neil Seymour or someone else with marketing experience.
Legislators said they don't want it to seem like there should be one person from each of the county's seven legislative districts on the committee, so a nine-member committee will make that easier.
The previous law stated that at least two of the representatives have to be from the southern end of the county. That number didn't change when the number of committee members increased, but the southern-end legislators - Tim Burpoe, D-Saranac Lake, and Paul Maroun, R-Tupper Lake - asked to change the wording to one representative from the Saranac Lake area and another from the Tupper Lake area.
Looking for input
Legislators said they plan to hold three more hearings on the bed tax before voting on it. Earlier this year, they held hearings in Malone, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake. The Tupper Lake meeting drew a number of irate motel owners, but only two people came with comments in Saranac Lake. Malone's hearing had a wide range of comments.
Burpoe said he wants to make sure people look at the revised document before it gets back to hearings. It is posted on the main page of the county's website, franklincony.org.
"It's out there for the public to see and make comments on," Burpoe said.
Regardless of whether the bed tax is instituted, the legislators plan to institute the TAC to create a marketing plan for the county. They said they hope to create it this week at their regular meeting on Thursday, and then they want to start sifting through potential people to appoint to it.
The idea is to have the TAC start working with the current year's tourism budget to see how the tourism department allocates money now and get some on-the-job training, as Burpoe put it.
Legislators are putting together lists of people they are interested in putting on the committee. They ask that those who would like to serve on the committee contact a county legislator. Here in the southern end, Maroun can be reached at home at email@example.com or 518-359-3066, Burpoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-891-1861, and Gordon Crossman can be reached at email@example.com or 518-483-5634.
Contact Jessica Collier at 891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.