Chambers to host informational sessions on bed tax

Business groups from Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake will team up to host informational sessions on plans to lobby for an occupancy tax in Franklin County.

The Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake area chambers of commerce recently united with the Malone chamber to form the Franklin County Chamber Alliance, an effort aimed at sharing resources to promote tourism and economic growth in the region.

The group's top priority in the coming months is convincing the Franklin County Board of Legislators to enact an occupancy tax, which is essentially a tax on hotel rooms.

Sylvie Nelson is executive director of the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. She says revenue raised through a bed tax would go directly into a special fund set aside for tourism marketing in Franklin County.

"Our proposal is based on the Clinton and Essex county models which are unique because they identify the private sector as the recipient of the tax monies," Nelson said. "This model has been very successful."

Franklin County is currently one of just two counties in New York that does not collect an occupancy tax.

Owners of lodging properties in southern Franklin County are invited to attend next week's informational sessions. The first session is scheduled for noon on Thursday, Feb. 10 at Little Italy's in Tupper Lake.

The second session will be held at 3 p.m. next Thursday at the Branch Farm Bed & Breakfast in Saranac Lake.

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