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Lake Geo. Chamber & bed tax awards criticized in wake of B.I.D. defeat

Tourists stroll down Canada St. in Lake George Village on a recent Fourth of July weekend. How to best promote tourism was discussed by the village board Jan. 13, after the downtown property owners defeated the proposed local Business Improvement District. Proposal opponent John Carr aired his concerns to the board about the allocation of county Occupancy Tax revenue and whether the Lake George Chamber of Commerce was adequately fulfilling its mission.

Tourists stroll down Canada St. in Lake George Village on a recent Fourth of July weekend. How to best promote tourism was discussed by the village board Jan. 13, after the downtown property owners defeated the proposed local Business Improvement District. Proposal opponent John Carr aired his concerns to the board about the allocation of county Occupancy Tax revenue and whether the Lake George Chamber of Commerce was adequately fulfilling its mission. Photo by Thom Randall.

— The proposal to establish a Business Improvement District in the village of Lake George was rejected last week by downtown commercial property owners, but community leaders say that merchants are undeterred in their commitment to boosting the village’s business climate.

John Carr of Adirondack Pub & Brewery, who successfully campaigned against the B.I.D. because of how it established a new layer of taxes, told village trustees Jan. 14 that both those for and against the B.I.D. formation supported the objective of business development and promotion — but he said existing entities in charge of tourism and marketing weren’t adequately fulfilling their missions.

“We were not opposed to the B.I.D. as a marketing vehicle, just the taxation involved,” Carr said, noting he was in favor of a continuing discussion between downtown business proprietors about how to boost business through shared marketing and promotion initiatives. Blais predicted that such communication in the business community would indeed go forward. He said he expected the B.I.D. steering committee — which had been meeting for many months and was developing potential business-boosting initiatives — would continue to meet.

Carr also denounced the way occupancy tax revenue was alllocated, and he questioned whether the Lake George Chamber of Commerce was as active as it should be in boosting the fortunes of commercial enterprises — and he criticized the group for not creating new local events.

“The Chamber is under-serving the tourism business community — and lack of membership among village businesses is evidence of this,” he said, suggesting that the Chamber re-define its role in the community and work more effectively in pursuing its objectives. “Most everyone I talk with is unhappy with the Chamber and the way Occupancy Tax is spent — changes need to be made.”

Lake George Chamber President Michael Consuelo countered Carr’s contentions. He said Chamber officials were indeed busy in boosting tourism.

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