Medina approves 2% room tax, awaits state approval to implement

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 January 2019 at 8:40 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: One of the rooms in the Hart House Hotel includes a picture of Bob Hope, one of the prominent customers of the former Newell company. The room is one of four hotel rooms and two extended stay loft apartments in the former Robert H. Newell Building at 113 West Center St., which for 86 years was home to the Robert H. Newell Shirt Factory. That company manufactured custom-made shirts, including for many famous customers, including Hope and Winston Churchill.

MEDINA – The Village Board has approved a 2 percent occupancy tax and will use the funds to promote economic development and tourism in the village.

Medina needs the State Legislature to approve the new tax, and Assemblyman Michael Norris, R-Lockport, has offered to take the lead in getting the legislation through Albany.

The village’s new 2 percent tax is on top of the 4 percent occupancy tax imposed by the county. The 4 percent occupancy tax generates about $35,000 a year and is used solely by the county for its tourism promotion efforts.

Medina has been looking for ways to boost revenue for the village without relying on property taxes. Mayor Mike Sidari isn’t sure how much the 2 percent tax will generate for the village.

It will be applied to hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and other lodging establishments within the village.

Medina will see an increase in rooms with the renovation of the Bent’s Opera House to be partly used as a hotel. A new chain hotel, Cobblestone Inn & Suites, also is expected to be built on Maple Ridge Road.

In passing the occupancy tax, the Village Board stated in a resolution there would be the following advantages for Medina:

• Promote economic development throughout the Village of Medina and its historic Business District;

• Increase promotion and use of the Erie Barge Canal for economic growth to locally owned businesses;

• Help promote a stable property tax base.

The board said many events and businesses draw people to the community throughout the year, including the wine and beer tasting events, Thomas the Train at the Medina Railroad Museum, Farm-to-Table dinner, fishing derbies, the Parade of Lights, and the many businesses in a vibrant downtown.

The Village Board wants to help promote those businesses and attractions. It also wants to have more resources to promote economic development at the business parks in Medina.

The village can use the money from the bed tax. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed wiping out the village’s AIM funding of $45,523, which hadn’t been increased in many years. The Aid and Incentives to Municipalities for Medina has been a tiny fraction of what the state gives a city.

Medina also has seen its shares of the local sales tax fall because of a formula tied to assessed value. As the assessed value in Ridgeway and Shelby has increased faster than the rate of growth in the village, the two towns have taken some of the village’s sales tax under the county formula.

The board couldn’t say when it expects the State Legislature will approve the new tax in Medina.

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