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Supervisors want fire chiefs but not at a high price tag

QUEENSBURY The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs chose Lake George for its annual summer conference and expo a couple of years ago, a decision that has made county supervisors and businesses very happy. However, the association recently requested $150,000 from the county occupancy tax committee, causing some differing opinions among supervisors. Warren County Administrative and Fiscal Commissioner Hal Payne said that last year, the conference, which draws thousands of families to the area, did receive $150,000 in occupancy tax funds. Thats because it was for start up, but there was a lot of talk after that, said County Board Chairman Bill Thomas. Each year, we have a few hundred thousand dollars left in occupancy tax funds left over and we allow people to come in and go before the committee and state their case for their event. Thomas said the county has some criteria for doling out occupancy tax funds. How many people will an event attract, how long they might stay, how much potential money is brought into the county are a few of the major ones. Americade sets the bar, and they receive $50,000 each year, Thomas said. Thats because it is so important to our communities. Now that the Association of Fire Chiefs has designated Lake George as its summer destination, they have become important as well. But supervisors are balking at handing out another $150,000 when the most they give out on a regular basis is $50,000. Last year there was a lot of talk after the fire chiefs received $150,000, that this would never happen again, Thomas said. At the board meeting last Friday, Thomas asked if the towns of Lake George, Bolton and Queensbury, along with the Village of Lake George would be willing to come up with funds for the fire chiefs event. I think the sales tax from the event would cover the expense of the town paying in, said Lake George Supervisor Lou Tessier. Bolton Supervisor Alexander Gabriels said he wasnt sure that the town had seen enough income from the fire chiefs to warrant a contribution. I think its a county show, said Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec. Bill Kenny of Glens Falls sid the total tourism budget is $300,000. If we give $150,000 to just one event, well have to say no to someone else, he said. I was trying to get a feeling if the towns would be willing to help out, but I didnt get a good feeling, he said. The resolution was tabled and sent back to the Occupancy Tax Committee for further discussion.

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