The Warren County Occupancy Tax Committee met on Tuesday to discuss a number of topics, including the status and number of short-term rental properties in the county.
Queensbury Supervisor-at-large Mike Wild brought up short-term rentals to the county treasurer, citing concerns about the impacts growing numbers of rentals could have on schools and workforce housing.
“I would say that we’re still growing. I probably had 200 phone calls last week about unregistered short-term rentals that are operating. We are currently at just about 1,000 that we have registered,” Treasurer Mike Swan said at the meeting. “There’s about another 175 out there that we’re chasing.”
In total, Swan said the county likely has close to 1,500 short-term rentals and only 15 properties chose to stop between last year and this year.
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Dennis Dickinson, Lake George supervisor and chair of the committee, told Wild the number of properties were not a concern.
“We’re very lucky in Lake George because we’re a tourist town. So, we have designated, in our planning and zoning, tourist areas as commercial,” he said. “So we said anybody that lives in a commercial area could operate a short-term rental and it’s worked out really well for us.”
Dickinson said the town also has a company that watches rental websites and social media to catch anyone violating the town’s local law.
“We get them signed up because we charge a fee for the license,” he added before listing the safety requirements also included in the law.
The treasurer said his department advises anyone who calls to register a property to first check with the local municipality about a license or permit.
Supervisor Wild then asked if any other towns in the county had experienced problems.
“I don’t have any information as to what sort of negative or positive effect it’s having on the housing market in the county. I just don’t have enough data from the other side,” Swan answered.
He also shared that the town of Johnsburg has the largest number of short-term rentals in the county “by a lot.”
Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino also spoke about his town’s approach.
“Over the past six months, we’ve had five public hearings and a lot of meetings and by the end of this month we will have our last public hearing and then look forward to passing something in early March,” Merlino said.
- The committee heard a pitch from Loud Media, which operates Lake George Radio, for a weekly Warren County feature on the radio to run for 90 seconds five times a day, promoting events or county news. The promotion would cost the county $2,000 a month or $24,000 for the year, which is what the committee voted to recommend at the next full Board of Supervisors meeting. Lake George Radio will also have a new home overlooking the lake in February after construction of the new studio on the second floor of the Holiday Inn is complete.
- The current occupancy tax fund balance in the county is at $7,109,147.80. The committee is considering new ways to fund the efforts to increase tourism in each town in the county: $75,000 each to Lake George town and village, $60,000 to the towns of Bolton and Queensbury and $20,000 to the city of Glens Falls and the remaining towns in the county. The plan already approved in the 2023 occupancy tax budget also includes a one-time payment of $150,000 to update Heritage Hall inside the Cool Insuring Arena.
Jana DeCamilla is a staff writer who covers Moreau, Queensbury, Warren County and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-903-9937 or email@example.com.