Essex County now seeking two-point hike in occupancy tax rate

The Essex County Board of Supervisors.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Fifteen of the supervisors voted along with Preston to amend the resolution and then pass it onto the full board meeting Tuesday, Dec. 4.

"I am a firm believer that we need to put this money back into tourism," Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said. "We have not been able to get even a tiny percentage of the occupancy tax back that is supposed to be available for these smaller chambers. We need to have this money not just in Lake Placid, but out in Newcomb and these other towns that feed into Lake Placid."

“As we get more occupancy tax revenue and more tourism dollars coming into the area, we can get more money off of the backs of the property tax,” Preston said.

County Manager Daniel Palmer cautioned that with more tourists would come more need for infrastructure work and more stress on the general fund of the budget.

"Tourists also generate general fund costs," Palmer said. "It is a general fund cost involved in all of that as well."

Two supervisors, Willsboro's Ed Hatch and North Elba's Roby Politi, voted against the measure.

"It should go to the general fund," Hatch said. "You are going to take away control of the board and I feel that with the budget issues that we are facing now, this would be better used in the general fund."

"Lake Placid funds 85 percent of all this money," Politi said. "There will be no way that I ever support an increase in the bed tax for the money to be used in the general fund. Until I know clearly how the money is going to be used, I will not vote on this either."

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