PLATTSBURGH — Clinton County legislators are poised to extend the occupancy tax for another three years.
“I think it has proven itself, as it (revenue) just keeps going up,” County Treasurer Joseph Giroux said.
The occupancy tax was enacted in Clinton County in October 2008 after the State Legislature gave its approval. It allows area hotels and motels to collect a 3 percent tax on each night’s stay.
The money is used by the Plattsburgh/North Country Chamber of Commerce’s Strategic Tourism Planning Committee to promote area events, including the many fishing tournaments on Lake Champlain.
Under the original agreement, the first $300,000 raised from the occupancy tax is used by the committee to market the area. After that, revenue goes toward reimbursing the county the $140,000 it gives the chamber each year for its tourism budget.
Once the $140,000 is recouped, any additional revenue will go to the committee, to be used for other promotions.
The county collected $404,850 in occupancy-tax revenue in 2009, the first full year the tax was in effect. In 2010, it brought in $422,144, and last year $468,590 was collected.
In the first quarter of this year, the county took in $90,180. That figure is up from about $79,000 collected between January and the end of March 2011.
In the second quarter of 2011, the county garnered about $105,000. Figures for the second quarter of this year are not complete yet, Giroux said, but they will exceed that amount.
“This has been great for the county and for the taxpayers because that’s $140,000 that they don’t have to pay,” he said.
Reports from area hotels show that business has been going very well this year, Giroux said. He spoke with one hotel manager who told him that last week they could have sold about 100 more rooms if they had them.
Last week, the area hosted a major fishing tournament, the Lake Placid Iroman Triathlon, the Clinton County Fair and two major youth baseball tournaments. Clinton County hotels housed guests attending all four events, Giroux said.
“The committee that oversees the money from the tax is very good, and they monitor what’s going on, and all the hotels benefit from the marketing,” Giroux said.
Scott Carpenter, owner of Econo Lodge Inn and Suites on Route 3 in Plattsburgh, agrees that the marketing efforts have paid off.
“We’ve had a great summer so far. Everything has been good,” he said.
The 85-unit Econo Lodge has been running at about 90 percent full for July, he said. In addition to the many local events that attract visitors, the strong Canadian dollar has helped.
“The weather has been great, and when it gets hot, a lot of Canadians like to get out of the city and come down here for a few days,” Carpenter said.
“We just hope it keeps going through August and into the fall foliage season.”
HEARING AUG. 8
County legislators will hear from the public on the plan to extend the tax another three years at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the legislature chambers. They will vote on the matter later in the meeting.
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