Warren County will resume Occupancy Tax bonus payments to localities in 2023, the Board of Supervisors decided by a weighted vote on February 17.
“We want to re-institute the spending plan as it was in 2020,” said Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, who chairs the Board of Supervisors’ Occupancy Tax Committee. “Year after year, the Occupancy Tax is generating more and more revenues, and we want to move those revenues into the localities, where they can do the most good.”
Before being removed from the 2021 budget in response to losses stemming from the 2020 pandemic, $367,500 was appropriated for the supplemental distribution of Occupancy Taxes.
Under the 2020 formula, the Town and the Village of Lake George were slated to share $145,000; Bolton and Queensbury were to be awarded $55,000 each. Glens Falls and the other eight towns would split $112,500, each receiving $12,500.
“Bolton and Lake George used these supplemental Occupancy Tax revenues to keep our communities competitive,” said Dickinson, noting that Lake George, Bolton and Queensbury generate 90% of the county’s Occupancy Tax revenues.
According to the resolution adopted by the Board on February 17, the Town and the Village of Lake George will split $150,000, Bolton and Queensbury will receive $60,000 each and the county’s remaining eight towns and the City of Glens Falls will receive allocations of $20,000 each.
According to Supervisor Dickinson, the suspension of bonus payments in 2020 limited Lake George’s capacity to stage events that attract tourists and positive publicity to the area.
“Our joint Town and Village joint committee receives requests for support worth $350,000 every year,” said Dickinson. “The suspension of those payments definitely had an impact.”
According to Mayor Bob Blais, awards from the Town and Village’s Joint Occupancy Tax Committee have helped fund Lake George’s robust schedule of events at the Festival Commons, on Canada Street and in Shepard Park.
The Town and the Village also have separate reserves of Occupancy Tax Funds to support on-going events such as concerts and fireworks, said Blais.
Blais said the restored bonus payments will enhance Lake George’s ability to develop new winter events that will complement Ice Castles or even replace it with an equally popular attraction should Ice Castles depart Lake George.
From 2015, the year a policy returning a larger share of revenues to communities was adopted, through 2020,
Bolton used its supplemental funds to help existing events, get new events off the ground and support tourism-related projects, said Supervisor Ron Conover.
Funds were also used to subsidize Warren County’s Up Yonda Farm, a subsidy that was temporarily suspended and only restored in 2022.
According to Supervisor Conover, the infusion of new supplemental funds could support a variety of projects, such as the new year-round recreation center at Veterans Beach or the winterization of the Bolton Historical Museum.
In order to receive the funds, municipalities must enter into a contract with Warren County and adopt a resolution accepting the funds and agreeing to the terms of the contract.