TUPPER LAKE — Franklin County legislators tabled a request to fund a promotional guide for Tupper Lake because its Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) was bypassed.
Legislator Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake) asked his colleagues for $8,000 at the final 2013 County Legislature meeting, saying $50,000 was spent on similar promotional projects elsewhere, and he wanted something for his constituency.
But Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (R-Chateaugay) tabled the resolution, saying he wanted “to speak to TAC about the process to go through them.”
Legislators created the advisory committee last year to decide how its annual tourism funds would be spent after taking over tourism from the Franklin County Industrial Development Agency.
But Maroun said the committee was not created until after legislators had already awarded $50,000 to other agencies, so he believes the decision is with the County Legislature for his $8,000 request.
An extra $75,000 was set aside in the 2013 county budget for tourism-related activities, and County Manager Thomas Leitz suggested funding FISHCAP, a St. Lawrence County-based fishing-promotion program, agri-tourism programs and a county planner/grant writer.
Instead, legislators awarded $25,000 to the Essex County-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) to promote Saranac Lake and $25,000 to Cornell Cooperative Extension to develop agri-tourism experiences to attract visitors.
Earlier this year, Maroun asked for $18,000 of the remaining $25,000 to promote the Tupper Lake region, but withdrew the request and his opposition to agri-tourism spending as long as Tupper Lake was given future consideration.
He asked for $8,000 this time and said it would go toward publication of a recreational guide for the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, similar to one Lake Placid has to promote its attractions.
Maroun, who is also mayor of the Village of Tupper Lake, said he persuaded both the town and village to give money to the chamber and said he has already spoken with Jim McKenna of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, “so we’re working on a regional effort with Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.”
He said ORDA has named Tupper Lake host community for the Empire State Games’ women’s ice-hockey competition.
Maroun said he understands some TAC members are upset, “but it’s carry-over funds, and it’s not an exorbitant amount of money.”
But Jones repeated the TAC is in place now, and all funding requests should go through that entity.
TAC members would also determine how occupancy-tax money would be spent if the State Legislature grants permission for the county to impose a 5 percent fee on overnight guests.
The state took no action before its legislative session ended, but the county expects to resubmit the request in early 2014 through Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assembly member Janet Duprey (R-Peru).
Email Denise A. Raymo:email@example.com