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Motel room price posting debated

LAKE GEORGE - On grocery shelves, state law demands that bold figures declare a product's price, aiding comparison shopping. It's federal law to clearly post itemized prices of new cars in the vehicles' windows.

But for those shopping for motel rooms as they drive through Lake George - "fuggedaboutit."

It's illegal for motel owners to post their prices, or at least claim their rates are among the lowest.

Or so motel owners and village leaders thought until this week.

The legality of posting prices became a murky issue recently when village officials couldn't locate their little code books they once handed out to motel and hotel owners, Mayor Bob Blais told village trustees Monday.

So maybe it wasn't illegal, as the town laws as officially recorded don't seem to prohibit price posting.

Blais recommended that village officials should now properly define motel and hotel price posting in the sign code provisions of the municipal zoning ordinances.

Blais suggested that the village allow posting of specific prices, but ban such vague terms as "low rates" or "lowest rates" so travelers won't be fooled by false claims.

He also said a new, revised code must assure that if a price is advertised on a sign, a room must be available at that exact price.

The price-advertising issue spurred some friendly debate.

Village Trustee Ray Perry said price-posting was a basic right and a service to the public.

"Competition breed business - posting rates is okay," he said.

Trustee John Earl offered a different opinion.

"Motels benefit if rates aren't posted," he said.

Trustee John Root, a former motel owner, said he was in favor of prohibiting specific rates on signs.

"I'm not in favor of posting rates - it's not very classy to throw numbers up on your sign-boards."

Perry reiterated that competition was good for all.

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