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#1521025 --- 12/27/18 09:36 PM Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses?
all seeing eye Offline
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Loc: Seneca Lake
‘ONE SENECA’: Initiative to drive economic development, tourism looks for revival in 2019

Published: 12/27/2018 @ 05:58 pm

On Thursday, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors renewed one of their longest standing debates. It centrally revolved around ‘how’ funding used for the County’s Tourism Promotion Agency should be handed out.

Chamber President Jeff Shipley addresses the Economic Development & Tourism Committee on Thursday.

Occupancy Tax, or ‘Bed Tax’ as it’s called in other municipalities – takes monies that would otherwise go to the County for general use; and allocates them to a Tourism Promotion Agency. In Seneca, that’s the Chamber of Commerce. On paper, the Chamber should receive 90 percent of the funds collected through this effort.

It’s been a point of contention in the past, when the Board started seeing sharp increases in that collection. The opening of del Lago Resort & Casino’s hotel spurred a significant increase in this collection. And now, as the supervisors look ahead into 2019 and 2020 – even more is expected with the addition of a second hotel at the Tyre casino.

In 2018, the Chamber of Commerce received $350,000 from Seneca County via Occupancy Tax. In 2019, they are scheduled to receive $405,000. Approximately $20,000 will be spent on other tourism-related items, but since those funds must be spent on tourism-related efforts – the Board has little wiggle room.

Chamber President Jeff Shipley says the funds go toward promoting the ‘whole county’ as it pertains to tourism, but the Chamber has also made a serious push toward fostering economic development. “It’s not only about getting people here, but allowing them to see how great it is here, the resources that are available, and what it can offer,” Shipley said during a conversation in the fall about a promotional guide, published by the chamber.

That guide was built to generate buzz in the business community – not simply promote tourism. The two items are undoubtedly married, and linked at the hip. However, the ‘One Seneca’ initiative, which was launched two years ago – was intended to address both, and bring all three entities with power to the table.

The Board of Supervisors, Chamber of Commerce, and Industrial Development Agency would work collaboratively to address economic development. According to Bob Aronson, Executive Director of the Industrial Development Agency, it’s still happening. “The Seneca County IDA’s current strategic planning effort is addressing economic development issues that emerged in the discussions held as part of the One Seneca process,” Aronson explained. “The IDA’s current effort is focusing on identifying initiatives throughout Seneca County, including the southern part of the county.”

Aronson said it’s ‘too early’ in the IDA’s strategic planning process to identify specific goals of earlier held community input sessions – but dozens of stakeholders and other participants int he process have identified opportunities in tourism, manufacturing and other industries for Seneca County as a whole.

Aronson did not make specifics within those categories available.

The two public sessions referenced by the IDA’s director were organized and held in November. Aronson said in a press release that approximately 60 people attended. Additionally, a consultant team working with the IDA interviewed approximately 25 stakeholders from the private sector, including those representing the agriculture, advanced manufacturing, education, finance, healthcare, hospitality, and technology sectors, as well as Finger Lakes wineries.

“The public session attendees as well as the interviews with stakeholders have helped the IDA identify the community’s assets and priorities. Economic development assets that participants identified include Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake and other waterways; the region’s scenic beauty and quality of life; the Route 318/Route 414 corridor, with its proximity to the New York State Thruway; Finger Lakes National Forest; and the former Seneca Army Depot, the largest developable property in the Northeast United States,” Aronson added.

He also noted that Seneca County isn’t unique in its challenges. “Like many communities in Upstate New York, workforce shortages as well as bottlenecks related to infrastructure are important issues that the Seneca County IDA’s upcoming strategic plan will need to address,” he explained. Aronson noted that water, sewer, internet, and electricity are all items that weigh into why Seneca County – especially the rural, southern parts of the County – struggle to generate development.

During the session on Thursday, Shipley broke down the disconnect that exists between the north and south in Seneca, and simplified some of the sticking points people have with economic development efforts and tourism promotion.

“The sheer volume of traffic that’s entering the County through the northern corridor is more than four times that coming from the southern end,” Shipley explained. That was a response to the concern that the Chamber, acting as the Tourism Promotion Agency for Seneca isn’t spending enough time, resources, or manpower in South Seneca.

Some of the supervisors from South Seneca have requested more tourism kiosks and visible time with those chamber representatives. While they stand resolute that they are representing ‘all’ of Seneca County – it’s ultimately a numbers game.

“We have to capture people where they are,” explained Shipley during an interview last month. He said it means using data to determine where people are entering the County from, and making sure that the promotional materials are available; and that their resources are being spent to direct visitors to the ‘rest’ of Seneca County. “It’s one thing to say a lot of people stop by. It’s another thing entirely to measure how many people stop by,” he explained on Thursday. “We hear people say they need a kiosk, but the numbers don’t prove that to be the case.”

The real issue when it comes to tourism promotion, increasing visitor ship, and even economic development – according to Shipley – is the need for better fundamental resources. “Spotty internet connectivity, specifically broadband, is not adequate in the Southern end of Seneca County,” he explained during Thursday’s session. “It’s not at The Three Bears, or even some wineries. There’s a lot of things we should be doing, but basic internet connectivity is not just something that you look at casually and dismiss,” Shipley continued. “You absolutely should be looking at internet connectivity. That’s how visitors find places, that’s how businesses market themselves, and we have real issues if businesses in the south cannot access that.”

Aronson says that he believes economic development stakeholders will continue working together. “It is also important to ensure that, by the end of the process, there are solid working relationships among those involved in economic development throughout the County,” he concluded.

The supervisors opted to not take any action on adjusting or modifying the funding going to the Chamber as the County’s Tourism Promotion Agency. “It wouldn’t be fair to them to change that now that their budget has been set. Maybe next year. But not this year,” Supervisor Lee Davidson (R-Lodi) said as the debate wore down.

Supervisor David Kaiser (R-Romulus) said the board would look more closely at the internet connectivity issue in South Seneca; and make brainstorming solutions a priority in 2019.
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#1521026 --- 12/27/18 09:48 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
I googled the chamber calendar for the Sampson Dog Show. All I could find was an entry on the events calendar:

Wine Country Circuit AKC Sanctioned Dog Shows
Name: Wine Country Circuit AKC Sanctioned Dog Shows
Date: September 27, 2018 - September 30, 2018

Event Description:
Four days of AKC sanctioned All Breed Dog Shows. Including Conformation, Obedience, Rally and Lure Coursing and Agility Trials.

Sampson State Park 6096 Route 96A Romulus, NY 14541

Thursday thru Sunday Sept 27 to 30th 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Free Admission to Public Free Parking


That, to me at least, is NOT TOURISM PROMOTION.

Having a kiosk at the show is NOT TOURISM PROMOTION, either.

That is just sending people who are here already to go to local businsesses.

Promotion is getting all those crowds exiting the Thruway in Tyre, to come down to the best event held in the county.

To me the County Tourism money should be going to promote events throughout the county to bring people who would not usually come, and not just posting things on the County CC website.
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#1521027 --- 12/28/18 05:44 AM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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Registered: 05/22/14
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Are the supervisors counting chickens before they're hatched just because another motel is being built ? Maybe another motel in Tyre will take business away from the motels south on 414 in Seneca Falls. Funny that you never hear anyone mention "MARKET SATURATION", LIKE WE REALLY NEEDED ANOTHER PIZZA SHOP ! The south end crybabies should dry their tears and get a clear look at what the Chamber spends most of it's time on. PROMOTING THE WINE INDUSTRY. How many wineries are there in the north end ? Jeff should draw a line at the southern borders of Waterloo and Seneca Falls and keep track of where the money goes.


Besides I watch dog shows on TV
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#1521029 --- 12/28/18 01:22 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
This demonstrates the need to promote the Wine Country Circuit Dog Show locally as well as regionally. Clearly the chamber has not done enough.

Originally Posted By: scwoodchuck


Besides I watch dog shows on TV
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#1521030 --- 12/28/18 04:11 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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WRONG--- it only demonstrates that the Wine Country Dog Show Circuit doesn't do enough to promote itself. DUH


https://www.facebook.com/SampsonStatePark/photos/gm.1630915063888571/1763372780614345/?type=3


https://www.facebook.com/events/1630915050555239/



Edited by scwoodchuck (12/28/18 04:26 PM)
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#1521031 --- 12/28/18 05:01 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
Hello_Governer Offline
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Registered: 10/03/11
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Is the Wine Country Circuit Dog Show a member of the Chamber of Commerce ?


Edited by Hello_Governer (12/28/18 05:02 PM)
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#1521032 --- 12/28/18 05:24 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: Hello_Governer]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
No. It is an event sponsored by 4 regional dog clubs:


“The Finger Lakes dog show, Wine Country Circuit, is one of the largest circuits in the country. The outdoor show is really four shows in one. Four independent kennel club shows held on consecutive days.

Kanadasaga Kennel Club (KKC) (Seneca County area)
Elmira Kennel Club (EKC)
Finger Lakes Kennel Club (FLKC) (Ithaca)
Onondaga Kennel Association (OKA)”

The show brings in 3000 dogs and their owners, handlers and fans for 4 days, after Sampson closes for the season. They use all the RV sites, most of the local hotels and many of the vacation rentals in the area.

But many more visitors could be accommodated.

The county gives the chamber 90% of the hotel occupancy tax to promote tourism, at events like this. This year (2019) they are budgeted to get $405,000.

Dog breeders are not experts at tourism promotion and so far, all the coverage seems to be AFTER the show is over.

This is exactly the kind of event the Chamber should be promoting ahead of the event, not simply having a visitor booth at the event.




Originally Posted By: Hello_Governer
Is the Wine Country Circuit Dog Show a member of the Chamber of Commerce ?


Edited by all seeing eye (12/28/18 05:43 PM)
_________________________
"No amount of evidence will ever convince an idiot."

Mark Twain

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#1521033 --- 12/28/18 06:28 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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directory.senecachamber.org/events/calendarcatgid/6?m=2018-06-01
Seneca County Chamber of Commerce is the best place to find an event in the Seneca Falls NY area.

but you have to submit an event :-P that's how it works. But you don't seem to know how anything works, you just complain.


Edited by scwoodchuck (12/28/18 06:32 PM)
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#1521034 --- 12/28/18 06:55 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
You mean we are giving them $405,000 a year just to post events that are submitted?

And you think that's enough?

Fingerlakes1 has a FREE event calendar that events are submitted to: https://fingerlakes1.com/calendar/ The IthacaTimes has one too: https://www.ithaca.com/calendar/ And so does the Finger Lakes Times https://www.fltimes.com/calendar/

And we don't pay them a thing.

Please explain what the Chamber does to earn $405,000/year from the County.


Originally Posted By: scwoodchuck
directory.senecachamber.org/events/calendarcatgid/6?m=2018-06-01
Seneca County Chamber of Commerce is the best place to find an event in the Seneca Falls NY area.

but you have to submit an event :-P that's how it works. But you don't seem to know how anything works, you just complain.


Edited by all seeing eye (12/28/18 07:03 PM)
_________________________
"No amount of evidence will ever convince an idiot."

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#1521036 --- 12/28/18 08:49 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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if you have to ask that question, you don't deserve an answer.
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#1521037 --- 12/28/18 09:34 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
Why are you so nasty? It is always a personal attack with you.

I don't think you have a clue what the Chamber is doing or is supposed to do, and don't want to embarrass yourself.

You can prove me wrong by explaining what the county is paying $405,000 for. Other than posting events submitted, of course.


Edited by all seeing eye (12/28/18 10:03 PM)
_________________________
"No amount of evidence will ever convince an idiot."

Mark Twain

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#1521038 --- 12/29/18 06:12 AM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 2283
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But you are not attacking the chamber, the BOS, former county manager or anybody else, RIGHT


www.fltimes.com/news/seneca-county-tourism-promotion-budget...
Seneca County tourism promotion budget increases in 2018 ... and promotion of small projects such as the Sampson dog show and the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail. Seneca County Chamber of Commerce.

15,000 copies were printed, I believe



Welcome to the Finger Lakes Gateway Seneca County, NY
fingerlakesgateway.com
Welcome to the Finger Lakes Gateway. Seneca County is located in the heart of New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. It is home to the region’s two largest lakes, Seneca and Cayuga as well as the region’s largest concentration of wineries. In fact, the “Sonoma of the East” contains the most wineries in all of New York State.

http://fingerlakesgateway.com/


Edited by scwoodchuck (12/29/18 06:32 AM)
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#1521039 --- 12/29/18 09:24 AM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
Here's Johnny Offline
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Loc: New York
Seneca County needs to have a supportive Chamber of Commerce. The trouble is our local economy is worse than ever. It was once more of an independent entity and now it is under auspices of Seneca County. There are successful promotions aren't they? To assume that a one county approach will help is questionable. Can an audit be produced to show where the cash has gone so far and provide a measure of the various promotions' efficacies?


Edited by Here's Johnny (12/29/18 09:25 AM)

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#1521040 --- 12/29/18 02:08 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: Here's Johnny]
scwoodchuck Offline
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Registered: 05/22/14
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periodic audits are required by law and I'm sure the county watches very carefully. They don't use cash, if that is an insinuation
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#1521042 --- 12/29/18 09:18 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Offline
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Loc: Seneca Lake
YUP, I am sure about the careful oversight as well:

Seneca Supervisors told investigation is done, goes to DA next
By DAVID L. SHAW dshaw@fltimes.com Dec 28, 2018 0

WATERLOO — With a few days to spare, the investigation into possible malfeasance by two former Seneca County officials has been completed.

Members of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors were given an update on the investigation by Sheriff Tim Luce in a closed-door session Thursday.

The board cited the reason for the executive session, under the state Open Meetings Law, was to discuss “information relating to current or future investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense which would imperil effective law enforcement if disclosed.”

The board directed the investigation by the Sheriff’s Department on Oct. 23. The probe was to look at the actions of former County Manager John Sheppard and former county Finance Director Brandi Deeds regarding county fiscal matters uncovered in an independent audit of 2017 and ‘18 county finances, plus other actions of potential malfeasance.

Both resigned this past summer, and the county has had to spend some $100,000 for the auditing firm to stay on and help county staff correct the discrepancies for submission to the state.

“The investigation has been completed, all the interviews are done and we are ready to turn it over to the district attorney’s office for a decision on whether there is criminal activity that could be prosecuted,” Luce said before the closed door session began.

Board Chairman Bob Shipley, R-Waterloo, said there would be no formal action by the board after the executive session ended. The referral to the DA’s office will be made in January and go to acting DA Mark Sinkiewicz.

Sinkiewicz, the first assistant DA, will take over Jan. 1 for DA Barry Porsch, who was elected Seneca County judge in November.

https://www.fltimes.com/news/seneca-supe...9b446faef7.html



Originally Posted By: scwoodchuck
periodic audits are required by law and I'm sure the county watches very carefully. They don't use cash, if that is an insinuation


Edited by all seeing eye (12/29/18 09:28 PM)
_________________________
"No amount of evidence will ever convince an idiot."

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#1521043 --- 12/29/18 10:05 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 2283
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any bets as to the outcome ? But I like the way you changed the subject. You seem to do that when you can't win an argument.

Oh and ah; .

Seneca Supervisors spar over use of Occupancy Tax, TPA ...
fingerlakes1.com/2017/11/28/seneca-supervisors-spar-over-use-of...
In 2013, Occupancy Tax accounted for $219,612. In 2016 that collection had grown to $263,000 - but is projected to reach $450,000 in 2018. Since the funds can only be used for tourism-related promotion - the Chamber asked that a baseline 90 percent remittance be established for Occupancy Tax. It would mean all but 10 percent of the taxes collected from hotel rooms and vacation rentals would be sent to …

"Since Seneca County officially named the Chamber of Commerce their Tourism Promotion Agency – funding comes from state-specified sources.

Like other counties with specific Tourism Promotion Agencies – funds from Occupancy Tax create the TPA appropriation within the County’s budget each year. These funds, as mandated by the state, can only be used for tourism promotion."
"


Edited by scwoodchuck (12/29/18 10:23 PM)
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#1521044 --- 12/29/18 10:55 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
You are the one who asserted
"careful" oversight. I just pointed out that recent events indicated that wasn't very comforting.

I am happy to see what the investigation shows. \

Then we can apply what we learn to the "careful" oversight of the Tourism Promotion Agency that the county is going to give, at least, $405,000, in 2019.
_________________________
"No amount of evidence will ever convince an idiot."

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#1521046 --- 12/30/18 07:14 AM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
Hello_Governer Offline
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Registered: 10/03/11
Posts: 1680
Loc: New York, Seneca
Originally Posted By: all seeing eye
You are the one who asserted
"careful" oversight. I just pointed out that recent events indicated that wasn't very comforting.

I am happy to see what the investigation shows. \

Then we can apply what we learn to the "careful" oversight of the Tourism Promotion Agency that the county is going to give, at least, $405,000, in 2019.
Keep in mind that an "accusation" is what is being investigated. Knowing the former County Manager, I am sure he welcomed the investigation. Are you willing to pay for the investigation if it turns out to be a WILD GOOSE CHASE ?
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#1521048 --- 12/30/18 09:55 AM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: all seeing eye]
scwoodchuck Offline
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Registered: 05/22/14
Posts: 2283
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Originally Posted By: all seeing eye
You are the one who asserted
"careful" oversight. I just pointed out that recent events indicated that wasn't very comforting.

I am happy to see what the investigation shows. \

Then we can apply what we learn to the "careful" oversight of the Tourism Promotion Agency that the county is going to give, at least, $405,000, in 2019.



You mean has to give and it ain't $405,000
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I can't wait till humans evolve into an intelligent species.

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#1521049 --- 12/30/18 12:03 PM Re: Should the Chamber promote Tourism or County Businesses? [Re: scwoodchuck]
all seeing eye Offline
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Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 2398
Loc: Seneca Lake
According to the news reports and the discussions, the Chamber will get 90% of the Occupancy Tax, estimated for 2018 to be $405,000:

In other action, the board ‘s Economic Development & Tourism Committee voted 5-0 to approve a motion to enforce a 2017 policy to fund the county’s Tourism Promotion Agency, the county Chamber of Commerce, at 90 percent of the annual hotel and motel room occupancy tax revenue received in 2019.

That amount is estimated to be $405,000 of the projected $450,000 the tax may generate next year. The remaining 10 percent or $45,000 would be available to the board to allocate to tourism-related entities not included in the Chamber’s plans.

That is also the amount listed in the 2019 budget. https://www.co.seneca.ny.us/2019-filed-seneca-county-budget-document_2019_tentative-ada/

See Page 104.

How much do you think the amount is?
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