New staff position created in DelCo Economic Development

Occupancy tax funds 12 additional projects

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DELAWARE COUNTY - Delaware County Economic Development Committee members approved an additional staff person for the department at its meeting Wednesday, May 4. Economic Development Director Glenn Nealis outlined the duties the new staff person would be responsible for since the county designated the department as its tourism promotion agent in January, after removing the designation from the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

“We are over our capacity here and we cannot meet all the needs of incoming projects,” said Nealis.

While the position is needed due to an increase in work from tourism projects, having a more dynamic role will help productivity overall, said Nealis. Economic Development projects often overlap in all areas of the department. It makes sense to have a staff that is well versed in all aspects rather than specialized, he explained.

Nealis plans to shift Evan Bowker, economic development specialist, to working 50% of the time on tourism projects. Space will be made for Bowker to have an office.

Nealis’ proposal was to wait for the 2023 budget to advertise for the position as it was not budgeted for in 2022. With committee support of reallocating this year’s budgeted funds, Nealis hopes the position will be filled by September. The not-yet-determined salary will force the department to hire someone fresh out of college, according to Nealis. He has someone in mind for the position and will see if they are available, he said.

Supervisor Chairperson and Bovina Supervisor Tina Molé thanked Nealis for taking the time to assess the need for a new staff person prior to hiring.

In other business, the county’s contract with Granicus, a digital development company which identifies lodging facilities throughout the county for occupancy tax collection purposes, will expire in June. Granicus also monitors municipal code enforcement compliance. County lodging establishments are at about two-thirds compliant, said Nealis.

The company will enforce occupancy tax compliance at a contract price between $9,000 and $11,000 annually. Granicus will use a mailed three-letter system for reaching 100% compliance. According to Nealis, the first letter will inform establishments of non-compliance and provide the proper forms or contact information to bring them up to compliance. When the contract expires in June, supervisors will decide if they would like to add enforcement.

Other tourism projects in progress include digital maps, a beverage trail map and one featuring the county; a 2022 tourism guide, and grant approvals. According to Nealis, the guide will be set by the end of May. This year’s publication will feature photos and marketing terms that drive individuals to the county’s website greatwesterncatskills.com. “It will be leaner with more photos,” said Nealis. The department is still determining print volume.

The committee approved 12 applications submitted to the tourism promotion and development grant program administered by the economic development. Occupancy tax revenue will fund $76,628 in projects approved by supervisors on Wednesday, May 11.

The following projects will be awarded funding:

• 5 Acres Pines Properties, Davenport, was awarded $10,000 to be used for construction costs for a new pet-friendly cabin.

• Bellifire Made LLC, Roxbury, was awarded $5,000 to expand its parking lot by 1,900 square feet with water drainage.

• Catskill Mountain Manor, Hobart, was awarded $5,000 to add bathrooms, customized bars, and mini-fridges to three suites.

• Crazy Acres Campground at Beaver Spring Lake, Davenport, was awarded $9,733 to purchase a prefabricated 10-foot by 20-foot cabin and installation of a bathroom with a shower.

• Historic Cadosia Schoolhouse, Hancock, was awarded $10,000 to be used for the installation of a new heating system and HVAC system.

• Octagon Motor Lodge, Walton, was awarded $4,956 to update its website, replace roadside signage, and blacktop the driveway.

• Smith’s Colonial Motel, Hancock, was awarded $10,000 for a new electric service hookup.

• Stamford Gables B&B was awarded $5,214 to purchase materials for various projects. The owners will scrape and paint a carriage house and construct a roof for a buffet serving station.

• TC Angell LL was awarded $10,000 to construct one additional mini-barn lodging cabin at Cadillac Ranch Event Barn in Davenport.

• Decker Advertising, Delhi, was awarded $2,500 to pay a hosting fee at catskillcountry.com which will feature an interactive directory of Delaware County tourism businesses.

• Fitness by Raegan was awarded $2,500 used to market and promote its annual Catskill Mountain Yoga Festival in Roxbury.

• Maple Shade Farm, Delhi, was awarded $1,725 to create and print a marketing map of its facilities.

The next Economic Development Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1 at 9 a.m.

*This story was edited to reflect supervisors approved the tourism promotion and development grant program projects.

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