Lake George Mayor Robert Blais on Thursday convinced Warren County supervisors to help pay for the village’s new sewer treatment plant.
The county board’s Occupancy Tax Coordination Committee decided not to turn over occupancy tax funds but instead suggested revenue from county-owned parking meters near Charles Wood Park should be used to help bridge the funding gap to build the plant.
The state recently agreed to put another $9.4 million toward the project, which when combined with earlier public and private grants, gives the village $16.2 million of the $24 million needed, Blais told supervisors.
Putting the remainder of the tab on the backs of village taxpayers would drive tax levies over the state tax cap, and also potentially force businesses such as hotels to raise rates, he said.
“If rates keep going up, we’re going to be hurt all the way around,” he said.
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Occupancy tax funds stem from a 4 percent room tax in the county, and the funds are used for tourism-related expenses.
Blais asked supervisors for $100,000 a year in occupancy tax funding over the next 10 years, but supervisors were hesitant to dip further into occupancy tax money amid rising obligations.
Queensbury Supervisor John Strough said he was concerned that taking more occupancy tax funds would lead to scuttling a plan to buy tents for use during events in Charles Wood Park.
“We have to be careful, we have a lot of requests for occupancy tax,” Warrensburg Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said.
Geraghty instead suggested that parking revenue be used to help the village. The county took in $64,000 from those meters last year, and the revenue has been on the rise. The committee suggested starting those payments to the village in 2021 and agreed to refer the request to the board’s Public Works Committee.
The village of Lake George is under a consent order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to replace the 1930s-era plant, because it releases an excessive amount of nitrates, which can cause algal blooms that degrade the lake’s water quality. The new plant must be operating by August 2021 to comply with the decree.
Don Lehman covers police and court matters, Warren County government and the outdoors. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or email@example.com