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County extends occupancy tax hike

ELIZABETHTOWN - Essex County supervisors unanimously approved an extension to .75 of 1 percent hike to the county's take on hotel occupancy tax Monday.

At a special meeting of the full board, supervisors reiterated that the move is not a tax hike, but simply an extension of a much-needed funding stream.

The tax is in addition to the regular 3 percent the county collects on hotel occupancy and was set to expire on November 30.

For Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, the extension is an essential method of keeping property taxes down.

"We have used that additional three-quarters of a percent to hold the line on property taxes," he said. "In my opinion, sales and occupancy taxes are far less regressive then increasing property taxes."

Essex County Manager Dan Palmer said the additional three-quarters of a percent take accounts for roughly $4 million annually in county revenue.

New York State Governor David Paterson granted home-rule authority to Essex County for the extension on July 29.

The extension prolongs the additional tax until November 30, 2011.

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