County Lawmakers Scrutinize Use Of Excess ‘bed Tax’ Revenue
Published: August 26th, 2021
By: Shawn Magrath

NORWICH - County officials say they want a game plan from Commerce Chenango on how the agency plans to spend a projected $20,000 excess reaped in occupancy taxes over the last year.

The county is estimating revenues of roughly $80,000 to be collected through the local occupancy tax, the 4 percent local tax on hotel, motel and bed and breakfast rooms throughout Chenango County. The County Board enacted the dubbed “bed tax” in 2019 as a way to foot dues owed to Commerce Chenango for its expertise in county-wide tourism and promotion.

But law restricts use of bed tax revenues specifically for local tourism. And since the county already contracts with Commerce Chenango for promotional services, many Board officials say it makes sense to give the agency extra cash for additional advertising and promotion. The problem, some argue, has been the lack of specifics of exactly how that money would be used.

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A resolution authorizing appropriation of bed tax revenue was bounced back to committee at a meeting of the County Board of Supervisors earlier this month. Lawmakers say they not only want Commerce Chenango to provide more details before passing the resolution, but also want a final revenue figure before giving excess money away. The County Treasurer's Office won’t know how much revenue the bed tax generates until the year’s end.

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