MAYVILLE – A last-minute resolution brought controversy Wednesday among members of the Chautauqua County Legislature over a bill in the State Senate that would regulate the spending of a portion of the bed tax that is collected from hotel and motel patrons in the county.
The bill is sponsored by State Sens. Catherine Young, R-Olean, and Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown.
Members of the County Legislature said they received the documents just two hours before Wednesday’s 6:30 p.m. meeting and they did not have adequate time to review its contents. County Attorney Steve Abdella said he did not have clear answers to some of the questions about the legislation.
The changes would affect the 2 percent portion of the bed tax that is designated to go for environmental issues.
Some legislators from northern Chautauqua were concerned that the wording of the state legislation would designate all of the funding towards the Chautauqua Lake region and not towards the Lake Erie shoreline.
At stake is about $500,000, which is the county’s portion of the taxes charged to guests who rent hotel and motel rooms in the county. Legislator William Coughlin D-Fredonia, said more time should have been allotted for lawmakers to consider some changes.
After discussion, the issue was brought to a vote, passing 16-8.
The legislators also set a special meeting for next Wednesday in case further information about the issue could cause them to rescind the action and ask state leaders for an amendment.
In other business, the legislators approved a request from Jamestown Community College to acquire the buildings and land at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, adjacent to JCC. The college will use the site for classes.