County to divvy up bed tax surplus

QUEENSBURY-About half of Warren County's surplus bed tax money of a little more than $1 million will be set aside as a reserve fund for unanticipated county tourism needs - and $43,000 of the excess will be spent to promote events planned this year, Warren County leaders decided Monday Feb. 28.

Supervisors on the county's Occupancy Tax Coordination Committee will be reconvening in a special meeting March 10 to decide which events in the county will get more money, and how much.

Forty-two events planned for 2011 received a total of $306,500 in grants during an allocation process by the supervisors in January, and in most cases, the amounts granted were substantially less than requested, and a variety of events were not funded at all.

Supervisors decided Monday that they will be considering requests made only in advance of the March 10 meeting for new allocations.

Promoters of such events as Americade, the Adirondack Nationals Car Show, the Lake George Triathlon, the Adirondack Balloon Festival and the Lake George Community Band Festival have already submitted initial requests for increased funding, county officials said.

Adirondack Balloon Festival officials have previously aired their dismay that their net funding has been decreased by nearly half, as they were asked this year to shoulder about $10,500 in expenses for county employees'overtime pay.

This is a small sum, they they said, in comparison to the county's two other large events - Americade, which received $48,000 from the county for 2011, and the state high school basketball championship tournaments, which received $28,000 this year.

Area tourism experts have also questioned why the county declined for 2011 to allocate money to the Lake George Community Band Festival, which has annually showcased dozens of bands with as many as 500 musicians from all over the continent and attracted thousands to Lake George.

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