The Adirondack Balloon Festival, for instance, was cut from $50,000 in 2010 to $26,000 in 2011.
The supervisors decided to convene their Occupancy Tax Committee within a week to start deciding how to dole out $90,000 of that stash, the maximum they are allowed by local law to spend from the occupancy tax reserve funds
Hours after the meeting, Balloon festival President Mark Donahue said he'd be seeking more money for the 2011 event, which was now facing crimped finances due to the county's cut.
"We will most definitely be asking for restoration of traditional funding," he said, adding that the money the county spends to promote the festival is an investment in boosted sales tax revenue. "In the long run, this funding helps the county as well."
Several supervisors voted against the decision to restore $12,000 to the basketball tournament, saying it was not fair to the other entities seeking promotional grants, that it set a bad precedent for making special awards, and that it circumvented full review by the county Occupancy Tax panel which had spent many hours scrutinizing the grant applications. Voting against the $12,000 special award and citing these reasons were: Occupancy Tax Committee Chairman Bill Kenny, Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy, Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino, Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover and Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood. The rest of the 20 county supervisors voted in favor of the decision, including Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed and Glens Falls Ward 1 Supervisor Dan Girard, who both offered impassioned pleas for the vote Friday, citing that the event was fast approaching and needed the money to be successful.
County Administrator Paul Dusek said he recommended keeping $300,000 to $500,000 in the occupancy tax reserve account.