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Citizens, entrepreneurs raise concerns over proposed Lake George business district

At a Lake George Village Board meeting Monday Oct. 7, area developer and business owner John Carr talks of both the advantages and concerns associated with establishing a Business Improvement District in the village. 
Both entrepreneurs and individuals that would be included in their district raised various questions about such an entity, its budget, and what it would accomplish.

At a Lake George Village Board meeting Monday Oct. 7, area developer and business owner John Carr talks of both the advantages and concerns associated with establishing a Business Improvement District in the village. Both entrepreneurs and individuals that would be included in their district raised various questions about such an entity, its budget, and what it would accomplish. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Various concerns over establishing a Business Improvement District in Lake George were raised by citizens at a public hearing Monday Oct. 7, and their questions prompted the village board to delay a pending proposition to create such an entity by at least 30 days.

Business owners and residents of the district expressed concerns about the funding, budget, powers and parameters of such a district in the village, and whether it would create an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy as well as add substantially to property owners’ tax bills.

At the hearing, village Mayor Robert Blais introduced the BID proposal, which would add 61 cents per thousand onto village tax bills for properties in the district — or about $306 for a property with a market value of $500,000.

He said the BID would provide a new public entity to improve the local streetscape, market the village to the public, promote local special events and spur improvement of store facades.

“Business Improvement Districts have proven to be powerful economic development tools,” he said, citing a published study. He noted that BIDs were very successful in accomplishing various objectives in Albany and Saratoga as well as Glens Falls — where the BID’s levy is only one cent per $1,000 of property value.

Rob Gregor, an attorney who owns Motel Montreal, has been heading up a committee that’s been planning a BID for Lake George and working to establish it.

He said that a Lake George BID would be a “very democratic” entity, as it would empower individuals and businesses in the district to better determine their own destiny.

“We’re all working toward a better village for future generations,” he said.

Others didn’t have such positivism about the concept.

Doug Frost, who both lives and owns commercial property in the proposed district, raised a variety of concerns.

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