Editor's note: The amount of money needed to treat Lake George for Asian clams infestation this fall has been corrected.
QUEENSBURY -- Warren County supervisors opted Friday to put another $270,000 of occupancy tax money toward the battle against Asian clams in Lake George, but supervisors renewed calls for the state and private property owners to help fund the fight.
It took three resolutions before the county Board of Supervisors Occupancy Tax Coordination Committee could agree on a figure, with proposals to give $500,000 and $325,000 defeated before the committee settled on $270,000.
The donation — which comes from a surplus stemming from the county’s tax on hotel and motel room stays — came after 90 minutes of debate over the clam fight, how it should be fought and who should fund it.
Glens Falls 5th Ward Supervisor William Kenny, chairman of the Occupancy Tax Coordination Committee, urged supervisors of towns that receive a portion of the bed tax revenue to put something toward the effort as well.
The Occupancy Tax and Finance committees got an update on the efforts to get rid of the invasive mollusk from Lake George Park Commission Executive Director Dave Wick.
Wick said the task force is $650,000 short of money needed to treat four newly discovered clam colonies this fall and also would need money for four other long-term sites next year. If the county money is approved, the task force will still be short $380,000, he said.
He said he was “hard-pressed” to say they can be eliminated from the lake but said the hope was to control and limit them.
The clams degrade lake water quality, and supervisors agreed preserving Lake George is paramount to preserving the county’s tourism-based economy.
Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, who favored the $500,000 figure rejected by a 4-3 vote, criticized committee members for “shortsightedness” for not putting more money toward the effort and said supervisors were going to “shoot yourselves in the foot.”
“We have to give them absolutely every red penny we can give them,” Dickinson said.
A number of salvos were again lobbed at state officials for not funding the effort.
Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood pointed out Lake George is owned by the state of New York.
“We’re arguing about who’s going to pay how much of someone else’s bill,” Wood said.
Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe suggested the county funding be made contingent on a match from the state to put pressure on the state to act. That caveat was not added to the resolution that passed, however.
Bolton Supervisor Ronald Conover said his town will look into a greater donation of its share of occupancy tax money. Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said the village will give more of its Occupancy Tax money to the effort, and he said he will lobby business leaders to chip in as well.
“We’ve all got to make a sacrifice, and we’re willing to do it,” Blais said.
Wick said the task force will do what it can with the money it is given and will seek state help as well.
“This isn’t going to go away,” Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott said. “We’re going to have to deal with this year-in, year-out.”
The full county Board of Supervisors will have to approve the expenditure at its Oct. 26 meeting.
Kenny said the occupancy tax reserve fund stood at $666,651 as of Friday, not including the $270,000 allotted Friday.
In all, the county has put $500,000 of occupancy tax money toward the clam treatment fund over the past two years.