Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

November 15, 2012

NTCC's value to Lockport debated

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The city attorney’s office is researching legal alternatives to turning over city bed tax income to Niagara County’s designated tourism promotion agency.

As it does, one of the biggest tour attraction operators in Lockport appealed to the Common Council on Wednesday to abandon any notion of cutting ties with Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation.

Doing so would be “foolish ... a mistake,” Mike Murphy, owner-operator of Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises, warned.

The city’s 2013 tentative budget shows a 50 percent reduction in the amount of city bed tax that would be turned over to NTCC, and a new budget line for a city marketing & communications director. Late last month, Mayor Michael Tucker told the US&J that he thinks the city should end its roughly $85,000-a-year contract with NTCC next year and redirect the bed tax money to an in-house/city-only marketing effort.

“We have not been happy with (NTCC) for a long time, we just haven’t had a ‘Plan B’ until now,” he said.

Over time, Tucker and various city aldermen, some no longer serving, have questioned whether Lockport is getting its money’s worth from NTCC, whose charge is to promote “Niagara U.S.A.” It’s done so by promoting Niagara County as four regions or destination areas: The falls, the river, the lake and the Erie Canal.

In the past, city leaders said they resented seeing Lockport treated like a Niagara Falls side trip. Recently, Tucker has turned to questioning why NTCC doesn’t do more for Lockport as a direct funder of the agency.

The tipping point, he said, was NTCC’s decision to stop subsidizing operation of the Lockport Trolley after this year if it doesn’t receive overdue shares of Seneca Niagara Casino profits. Tucker said NTCC director John Percy informed him that Lewiston also wants a trolley and the agency can’t fund one and not another.

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