Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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November 15, 2012

NTCC's value to Lockport debated


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “We’re a shareholder and Lewiston is not. That’s the difference, to me,” Tucker said.

Except for the City of Niagara Falls, “nobody else pays. Lewiston, Newfane, Olcott, they all get promoted — which they should — but none of them pay. ... We’re not getting the bang for our buck, and I think we can take care of ourselves.”

City looking for legal ‘alternative’ to NTCC

NTCC’s main income source is bed tax from the cities of Niagara Falls and Lockport, and Niagara County — which collects the 4 percent tax charged on hotel/motel rooms outside the cities.

According to county Treasurer Kyle Andrews, Niagara County collected $84,600 in bed tax between September 2011 and this past August. Minus a 5 percent “administrative fee” the county turned over $82,100 to NTCC in the same time period.

Among the towns, Andrews added, “Far and away, the largest producer” of bed tax is hotels/motels in Wheatfield, with noticeable “pockets” of room rentals also seen in Olcott/Newfane, and the village of Lewiston, in peak touring months.

By the state tax law that allowed the City of Lockport to collect a 4 percent tax on all hotel/motel rooms in its borders, 75 percent of the total annual collection must go to “a not-for-profit corporation under contract with the county for the promotion of tourism in the county.”

While Percy, the NTCC director, asserted the law requires Lockport to help fund NTCC as the county’s designated tourism promotion agency, City Attorney John Ottaviano said this week he doesn’t think that’s the case.

The law refers to “a” non-profit corporation that promotes tourism, he said, and there’s already one in Lockport that could receive the city’s bed tax revenue, if the county Legislature agreed to contract with it — Lockport Main Street Inc., the non-profit company created in 2008 with establishment of the Lockport Main Street program.

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