© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Warren County Approves Plan To Support Civic Center

Lucas Willard

Warren County lawmakers today approved a plan to provide $750,000 over the course of three years to help support operations at the Glens Falls Civic Center, which is changing hands.

At a hearing of the Warren County Occupancy Tax Committee Friday morning, members of the public weighed in on a plan to provide $250,000 a year for a maximum of three years in revenues collected from the county’s bed tax to help promote events at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

The arena, owned by the City of Glens Falls since its construction in the late 70s, will soon be under the ownership of the Coalition to Save Our Civic Center, a group of local businesspeople recently awarded the facility under a lease-purchase agreement.

Including each of the scheduled American Hockey League games, sports tournaments, graduations, and other events, the Civic Center hosts around 63 events a year.

At the meeting, several attendees expressed concern over the proposal to use taxpayer money to support the Civic Center.

Frank Dittrich, representing a group of hotel owners who came together this month to discuss the proposal, said his group understands the need to support the Coalition, but warned that the tax money collected from the hotels should be spent in a clear and transparent way.

Dittrich said the methodology used to approve funding should be consistent.

“Specifically when we think about it in the context of transparencey, improve reporting on what events are drawing what funds down. And this is not just a Civic Center-specific event, it should be every event.”

Since the occupancy tax was established in 2003, communities have been able to use the funding to help promote events and tourism. As part of the changes, the current level of $350,000 in county event funding will be reduced by $100,000 in 2015, with a subsequent year reduction of $175,000.

Nick Caimano, a member of the Coalition, said that he was glad county lawmakers recognized the need to support the Civic Center.

“The fact that Glens Falls, as I’ve said many, many times, is downtown Warren County, and losing that asset is going to be costly to many of us, it’s good to see that they recognize that and they’re doing something about it.”

The money will be allocated quarterly according to the Coalition’s requests, and will support promotional work, advertising, hosting fees, crowd control and safety, and other costs related to specific events. It will not go into the Coalition’s general fund.

Caimano said the organization is in the process of determining how it will manage the funding.  The exact details of the relationship between the Civic Center Coalition and county still need to be worked out.

“At some point in late December we’ll sit down with the county on a contract that spells out exactly what we’re going to do, what we have to do, and what they’re going to do as far as the county and Civic Center Coalition are concerned.”

The changes approved by the Occupancy Tax Committee Friday morning were later adopted as part of the 2015 Warren County Budget.

County Administrator Paul Dusek said the feedback from the meeting will help develop the now-approved framework.

“The feedback was certainly excellent and appreciated because that’s going to help us in the drafting of the final version of this contract.”

Occupancy Tax Committee Chairman William Kenny said there will be more work to do in the new year.

“We will discuss the contract at the January board meeting and refinements will be made.”

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
Related Content