The Tourism Advisory Committee that recommends ways to distribute Yates County Occupancy tax funds presented distribution recommendations totaling $342,443 to the Yates County Legislature Oct. 15.
TAC Committee spokesperson Gene Pierce presented the following recommendations for a total of $342,443:
• Yates County Chamber of Commerce, $190,000
• Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism, $47,800
• Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, $22,860
• Finger Lakes Regional Tourism Council, $22,200
• Arts Center of Yates County $5,500
• Keuka College, $15,000
• Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, $5,000
• Keuka Lake Wine Trail, $15,000
• Fox Run Vineyards, $3,483
• Yates History Center, $2,000
• Camp Cory, $1,700
• Keuka Comfort Care Home, $6,900
• Finger Lakes Museum, $5,000
The allocations will fund tourism marketing projects and special events or activities aimed at increasing local occupancy tax revenues.
The legislature took no action on the recommendations, which will be included in the 2020 budget process.
Through three quarters this year, the county has received $468,706 from occupancy tax revenues. In 2018, the county received $619,389 and in 2017, $574,256.
The county uses the revenues to fund tourism promotions through the TAC, as required by the local law that established the tax. The legislature also grants funds from occupancy tax revenues through a Natural and Recreational Resources program.
These funds are used to protect and preserve natural and recreational resources in Yates County; preserve and develop recreational trail corridors that cross municipal borders and to develop outdoor recreation facilities that are intended to serve all county residents.
Other business at the Oct. 15 legislature meeting included:
• Communications Building: The Legislature agreed to use a grant of $351,776, to purchase and install a pre-cast concrete building to house a 911 public safety answering point to be located at the Sherman Tower Site near Sherman Hollow Road.
The site will be used when an emergency of some sort prevents the use of the permanent facility at the Public Safety Building. The communication shelter will house communications, radio, and related equipment, and can be used as a temporary emergency operations center if needed.
Although Public Safety Committee Chair Leslie Church of District 3 attempted to get the legislators to approve a 24 x 42 ft. building costing $360,000, the legislators approved a 24 x 29 ft. building costing $318,000 at the Oct. 15 meeting.
Sheriff Ron Spike says the grant that will pay for the building, installation, and freight is funded by a $1.20 charge added to all cell phone bills each month. He said in the past the county has used funds from the Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant program to make improvements to the county’s communications towers, PSAP equipment, and radios.
“We may have to leave the public safety building sometime because of an emergency,” he said.
During the discussion, District 1 Legislator Eldon Morrison said he would like to relocate to the PSAP and Office of Emergency Management to a facility at the county highway headquarters in Benton. But others pointed out that could take years to accomplish, and District 3 Legislator Dan Banach said, “We’ve been putting this off and beating around the bush. Let’s get it done.”