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Medina looks to add 2% bed tax to help fund tourism, economic development

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 September 2018 at 9:59 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board is planning to add a 2 percent occupancy or bed tax, with the funds targeted to boosting tourism and economic development in the village.

The village wants to promote those efforts in the village, but is limited with its resources right now. The board doesn’t want to raise property taxes.

It also has had its revenue from the local sales tax frozen since 1996 through a formula from the County Legislature. Medina also only gets $45,523 in state AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities), an amount that has been unchanged for several years and is a tiny fraction of what the state gives a city.

Orleans County currently imposes a 4 percent bed tax that raises about $35,000 to support county tourism initiatives.

Medina wants to add an additional 2 percent tax for hotels, bed and breakfasts and other lodging establishments within the village.

Mayor Mike Sidari said he saw where Niagara Falls implemented its own bed tax to help with tourism and economic development projects.

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 soon break ground on Maple Ridge Road.

Before the Village Board approves the bed tax, village officials wants to make sure legally whether Medina has to specify how the money will be used. The proposal right now calls for it to go towards economic development and tourism.

However, Trustee Marguerite Sherman would like some leeway. She said replacing sidewalks and other community projects also could be considered a benefit for tourism and economic development.

The mayor said he will check with NYCOM (New York Conference of Mayors) to see if the village has to be specific in how it uses the bed tax.

Medina also will need the State Legislature to give the village the OK to collect the tax.

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