Tupper Lake amends ROOST proposal

TUPPER LAKE – The town board has reaffirmed its commitment to hire the Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism.

ROOST placed the sole bid on the town and village boards’ joint request for proposal for a destination marketing organization. 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.

The town board accepted ROOST’s proposal at its March meeting, but a week later the village board stalled in making a decision on the bid during its meeting. Village Mayor Paul Maroun said he is for hiring the agency, but he wanted the proposal to be amended to reflect a three-year contract, as stated in the RFP.

During Thursday’s town board meeting, town Supervisor Patti Littlefield said that has happened.

“The original RFP we sent out asked for a three-year proposal, but ROOST responded with a one-year proposal,” Littlefield said. “Since then, the conversation has gone back and forth, between the chamber and the town and the village. ROOST has since amended their proposal to make it a three-year proposal, to match the RFP.”

The price tag on the contract is $80,000 annually for three years. The town 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.

Maroun also previously said he wanted some questions answered about funding before the village commits to the contract. Specifically, Maroun said he wanted to know if the village could redirect $30,000 from a waterfront grant and $20,000 from a 90-miler grant to the ROOST contract.

Littlefield said a recent conversation she had with village grant writer Melissa McManus confirmed that could be done.

“Melissa said there will be a $30,000 grant applied to the first year, and she is 99 percent sure there will be a $30,000 grant applied for next year,” Littlefield said. “There is also potential for another grant for the third year.”

Littlefield said she has also had discussions with Franklin County Board of Legislators Chairman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay, and options to secure additional funding from the county’s Tourism Advisory Committee are being explored.

“If you take the $80,000 price tag, you can immediately pull $30,000 off it for this year, plus our friends in Piercefield have offered $5,000 for each of three years, so that would draw that down to $45,000,” Littlefield said. “If we take an equal split, that would be $22,500.”

Littlefield said the town and the village each have $15,000 budgeted to fund the events coordinator position at the Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, and that money could be redirected since the current events coordinator, Michelle Clement, announced in February that she didn’t want to renew her contract.

Chamber President Adam Boudreau attended the town board meeting and asked if Clement could stay on a little longer to finish work on upcoming events in Tupper Lake.

“We used to bill you and the village quarterly,” Boudreau said. “With Michelle still fulfilling those obligations under her contract, I was wondering if we could bill you and the village monthly. It’s looking like latest possible date she’ll be with the chamber is June 1.”

Town Councilman Rick Skiff liked that idea, and other board members agreed. Councilwoman Kathy Lefebvre was not present.

“I think that’s the best way to do it,” Skiff said. “That way, whenever that final proposal does come into effect, we’re not getting money coming back and doing it that way.”

The board unanimously agreed to the updated ROOST contract, with all previous contingencies remaining in place. The contract will have to be approved by the village board before ROOST can begin work. The next regular village board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 21.

“If we can get funding from all of these entities over three years, then this is a pretty affordable project,” Littlefield said.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or skittle@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.