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Johnsburg board overrides bed tax committee, grants shuttle funding

— Despite the Occupancy Tax Committee’s recommendation not to grant the North Creek Business Alliance $13,200 for its tourist shuttle, Johnsburg Town Board members Tuesday, Dec. 4 decided to override the committee and grant $10,000 to the group.

During the regular Town Board meeting at the Wevertown Community Center, Councilman Pete Olesheski presented the recommendations of the Occupancy Tax Committee — of which he is the chairman — for awarding occupancy tax (ak.a. bed tax) monies to projects that support tourism.

The recommendations proved controversial because the committee decided to not award any money to the North Creek Business Alliance shuttle, which provides transportation from Gore Mountain, the Ski Bowl and downtown North Creek during ski season.

Olesheski explained that, according to the guidelines, any project requesting funding during multiple years would have their maximum allowable award incrementally reduced by 25 percent beginning with their second year’s request. This meant that the shuttle, which applied for $13,200, was only eligible for $3,300 after the required 75 percent reduction. The shuttle has been servicing the community for four years.

But the committee didn’t even award that amount. Olesheski said the decision was based on communications he had with Erwin Morris, one of the owners of Summit at Gore Condos, which indicated that the Business Alliance had been unwilling to work with them and have them be part of the shuttle service, which was in violation of the requirement that applicants be inclusive of all businesses in the area.

“From the committee’s standpoint,” Olesheski said, “we were just trying to follow the guidelines that were established, trying to be as fair as we could.”

Sharon Taylor said she had met with the Morris brothers within the past 30 days as a representative of the Business Alliance, to discuss partnering with them on the shuttle and “they flat out told me that they did not want to participate with us.”

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