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Local News

August 22, 2013

Bed tax staying at 4 percent for three more years

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The city’s 4 percent bed tax will stay in effect for another three years after the Common Council approved its extension Wednesday.

Bed tax is a 4 percent surcharge on all hotel/motel room rentals within city limits. The tax is collected by the city treasurer’s office and proceeds are committed to tourism/economic development only.

The lion’s share of the roughly $85,000-a-year collection is pledged to the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, which is under contract with Niagara County to promote “Niagara USA” — falls, lake, river and canal regions — as a touring destination.

City administrators declined to pursue the state’s OK to raise the local bed tax to 5 percent this year, even as multiple tourism/economic development interests — including the Lockport Locks Heritage District Committee — have put out feelers for public funding of their ventures.

The city can approach the state any time for the OK to raise the rate; changes are not tied to the local law OK’ing the bed tax for three-year periods, according to Council President Anne McCaffrey. The Council reapproved the tax as is because it was set to expire Dec. 1 and the city wouldn’t be able to get the state’s OK — basically by a change in state tax law — before then, she said.

In other business, the Council OK’d an agreement with the state whereby the Department of Transportation will pay the city $1,000 for two right-of-way land parcels on the north side of Lincoln Avenue, 15-by-18 feet and 15-by-80 feet. D.O.T. is acquiring land for the reconstruction of Lincoln Avenue between Beattie and Akron roads.

According to 4th Ward Alderman Patrick Schrader, the project calls for addition of sidewalk on both sides of Lincoln; on the north, or city, side, sidewalk will be added between Nixon Place and Davison Road. Construction is set to begin next spring, Schrader said.

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