Franklin County board still fighting for bed tax

MALONE – The Franklin County Board of Legislators have again voiced their approval of an occupancy tax.

And Legislator Paul Maroun, R-Tupper Lake, was again the only legislator to vote against the proposed tax during Thursday’s meeting.

Maroun, who is also the mayor of Tupper Lake, did not comment at the meeting, but he has often been an outspoken oppenent of the tax, saying most motel owners in his district oppose it and also saying that Gov. Andrew Cuomo would never support it.

“What I’ve said to the people that are advancing it is, when the governor tells us that he is going to sign the bill, I will then reconsider my vote,” Maroun previously told the Enterprise. “Why go through all this time, energy and effort when the governor isn’t even going to support it? We’re getting people on all sides upset for nothing. If the governor’s office says they’re going to support, I’ll reconsider my position and probably support it.”

Last year, after a committee of lodging owners spent about a year working on the law that would create the tax, legislators held two rounds of three hearings – each time holding one in Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake and Malone. Support was mixed or leaning in favor of the tax in Malone and Saranac Lake, but both times in Tupper Lake, most of the town’s motel owners showed up to express their angry opposition.

The local law creating the tax needs approval from both the state Legislature and Cuomo. If passed, the tax would impose a 5 percent fee on overnight guests in Franklin County.

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey told legislators in January that she’d reintroduce Franklin County’s occupancy tax bill to the state Assembly. She told the board there were 10 requests in the Assembly last year for occupancy tax increases from counties that already have the tax. None of those requests passed the Senate, and only four passed the Assembly: three in Westchester County and one in Orange County.

Duprey said as much as 10 percent of the tax money could get tied up in the county but the rest would go toward promoting tourism in the county via the newly formed Tourism Advisory Committee, which would decide how the money is spent.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or