ELIZABETHTOWN Lake Placid Mayor Jamie Rogers addressed the Essex County Finance Committee on Monday, July 16, asking for an increase in the countys portion of sales tax.
Rogers asked the board to consider adding an additional quarter percent, which would then be returned to the municipalities to offset the cost of operations.
Currently Essex County has a 7.75 percent tax rate, of which 4 percent is levied by the state. If the additional tax was approved by both the county and state governments, the sales tax rate would increase to 8 percent.
Small resident base carries heavy burden
Rogers presented the board of supervisors with information on the tax structure, pointing out that of the $18 million in sales tax collected, $9 million comes from visitors.
The village of Lake Placid, which is located inside the town of North Elba, collects between 70-85 percent of visitor spending, Rogers said.
The problem, Rogers said, is that about 2,600 residents pay for the cost of operating the entire community. Including visitors, the town has an average population of about 10,000-15,000 monthly.
The residents of North Elba and the village of Lake Placid have a heavy burden, said Rogers.
Rogers said that running his community costs five times more per resident than the national average. The average per capita expenditure is $1,041 per city, Lake Placid requires $5,033 per capita.
It is often said that North Elba is the goose that laid the golden egg, said Rogers. If North Elba is going to keep laying golden eggs, we need some of our gold so we can afford to feed the goose.
Support from the board
Ticonderoga Supervisor Robert Dedrick has been advocating the quarter percent increase for over a year.
Youre singing my song. Im 100 percent behind you, said Dedrick. This is the way to go this is absolutely the way to go.