County leaders scrap upcounty events coordinator post

QUEENSBURY - The idea of hiring a marketing and promotional consultant to help Northern Warren County groups develop new events to boost tourism has been scrapped.

County supervisors killed an idea Thursday to hire an event coordinator to help local residents promote tourism related to the federal Wilderness Heritage Corridor.

Supervisors on the county Finance Committee said that although they were in favor of increasing tourism, they did not believe the potential benefit justified the expense.

Although the event coordinator post was axed, the county will still participate in the Wilderness Heritage Corridor program, which in Warren County features the proposed tourist railroad and hamlets along its route.

The event coordinator was envisioned to receive $35,000 annually for three years from the county and would have performed tasks directly associated with the railroad and Wilderness Heritage Corridor towns of Warrensburg, Thurman, Stony Creek, Chestertown and Johnsburg.

The county has received a $505,000 grant from the state that will be distributed to towns within the heritage corridor for boosting tourism. The coordinator's salary, however, would not have come out of the grant money. Proponents of the position creation hoped to use an unexpected surplus of occupancy tax revenue to cover the required $105,000.

Glens Falls Supervisor-at-Large William Kenny, a vocal opponent of the railroad project, was among those voting against the new position.

"The focus was much too specific," he said. "I just didn't see us getting the necessary bang for our buck."

"I am not sure we should keep taking stuff on," Queensbury Supervisor Dan Stec said. "I believe the goals of the project can still be accomplished without hiring a coordinator."

However, not all officials agreed.

"If we are going to generate revenue through tourism we have to stay in the mix and $35,000 a year of bed tax money is well worth it," said Queensbury Supervisor-at-Large Fred Champagne. "This kind of thing is what occupancy tax revenue is provided for."

Proponents of the position hope to revisit the issue when the economic climate has improved, officials said.

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