Tupper village stalls on ROOST contract

TUPPER LAKE – The Tupper Lake village board is going to wait a month before deciding on its involvement with a joint town and village contract with the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

Last week, the Tupper Lake town board passed a resolution to approve an $80,000, one-year contract with ROOST to become the destination and marketing organization for Tupper Lake. That board’s resolution to accept the bid is contingent upon an even-split payment agreement with the village board. That means any grant money obtained by either municipality would be taken off the top of the total cost of the ROOST contract.

The town board passed its resolution on to the village board, but Mayor Paul Maroun tabled it during Tuesday’s village board meeting.

Maroun cited two reasons for putting the vote off: the length of the contract and the potential for grant funding.

“We talked with ROOST about how this has to go on for three years to do things right,” Maroun said. “The contract should be a three-year contract.”

Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce President Adam Boudreau told the board that Maroun was right. The draft of the request was developed by the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce and later agreed upon, with some slight modifications, by both boards.

“It’s kind of unfortunate that it (the contract) came across as one year,” Boudreau said. “I realize that’s the layout, with the $80,000. Their proposal alludes to more than one year but they never flat-out say it’s $240,000 for three years. I know their intentions are a three-year proposal, but it comes down to the village and the town working out the funding.”

Boudreau said he would ask ROOST to write up a three-year contract and have it ready before each board meets again in April.

Maroun stressed that both boards need to acknowledge the three-year commitment, and said the town’s resolution needs to reflect that.

“You don’t start something and not see it through,” Maroun said.

Maroun also said he wanted some questions answered about funding before the village commits to a contract. He said the village’s grant writer, Melissa McManus, is in the process of finding out if the village can redirect $30,000 from a waterfront grant and $20,000 from a 90-miler grant to the ROOST contract.

The town and village each contribute $15,000 annually to pay Michelle Clement’s salary as the chamber’s events coordinator. Clement recently announced she would not seek renewal of that contract, which expired in February. Both boards have discussed putting that money toward the ROOST contract.

Money for that salary, plus the grant money, could cover the first year of the contract. The Piercefield town board also passed a resolution in February saying it would contribute $5,000 annually for three years toward hiring a destination marketing organization like ROOST.

“What I’d like to do, if this all works out, is pay $100,000 for the first year of that contract,” Maroun said. “We’d be looking at less than $10,000 each this year, it would reduce the burden on the taxpayer next year and it would make us look good to ROOST.”

Town Supervisor Patti Littlefield, who was at the village meeting, added that the town is drafting a letter to the Franklin County Tourism Advisory Committee to find out if money is available through that committee.

Village Trustee Rick Donah asked Maroun, who represents Tupper Lake on the Franklin County Board of Legislators, if he had heard anything about the possibility of receiving money from TAC. Maroun said TAC has nothing to do with this.

“I guess that conversation about us getting money from Malone hasn’t materialized yet,” Donah said.

The village board agreed to address the resolution again during its April meeting.