ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/PLANNING/PUBLICITY COMMITTEE

Monday, April 15, 2024 - 10:00 AM

 

 

Ike Tyler, Chairperson

Clayton Barber, Vice-Chairperson

 

Supervisor Tyler called this Economic Development/Planning/Publicity Meeting to order at 10:12 am with the following Supervisors in attendance: Clayton Barber, Matt Brassard, Chris Clark, Robin DeLoria, Derek Doty, Shaun Gillilland, Charlie Harrington, Ken Hughes, Steve McNally, Jim Monty, Cathleen Reusser, Favor Smith, Matthew Stanley, Davina Thurston, Ike Tyler, Joe Pete Wilson, Margaret Wood and Mark Wright.

 

Department Heads present: Anna Reynolds and Mike Mascarenas.

 

Deputies present: Dina Garvey

 

News Media: Alania Penny

 

Also Present: Jody Olcott and Sarah Brown - IDA, Elizabeth Lee, and Meghan Dohman - Cornell Cooperative Extension, Jim McKenna and Michelle Clement - ROOST, Megan Murphy and Caitlyn Wargo - Adirondack Roots, and. Carol Calabrese and had been Aurora McCaffrey - Essex County Historian and Nicole Justice-Green - Essex County Land Bank had been previously excused.

 

TYLER: Alright, weíll get started with Economic Development.

 

***************************

 

††††††††††† The first item on the agenda was the Industrial Development Committee with Olcott reporting as follows:

 

OLCOTT: Good morning, so, probably, I didnít come last month, but you guys should have gotten a group of these little brochures that we did here at the County; Starting a Business, in your inbox.

I wanted to say, Carol and I are obviously, are the one that come here and report, but this is Sarah Brown, she is our office manager. Sheís been with us for about 20 years, at least, 21 years. So, she runs you know everything at the office and I just want to introduce her to you guys. We did these, itís just a quick down and dirty on the very, very basic economic development services that are available to all businesses in Essex County and we did this just because, you have people stopping in your office, I am sure daily, businesses that are there, businesses that want to come to your area and you want to provide them with resources available. So, this is just a quick down and dirty where you can just hand it to them, they know that they can call the office and weíll provide. I know we have a lot of new supervisors that came onboard in January. We still have to kind of sit down with, if they have questions about what the IDA does. I think for us, itís hard, because the term, industrial development agency, donít necessarily capture what we do at the office. Itís kind of intimidating, weíre not industrial. So, we still need to have those conversations with you guys about what our office can provide, what we, we are formed through the New York State Legislature and we provide benefits to small, medium and large businesses. So, itís an ongoing conversation, but, and thereís probably a lot of supervisors that have been here as long as I have, who probably donít know everything that we do at the office, which is fine, but I just want you guys to know that thatís what this was for. I think Sarah, put a memo in there explaining it. If you need more, if your office is busy or if people come and grab them, then obviously you can reach out to Sarah and weíll supply more. Weíve done the chambers and the rest area on the Northway, stuff like that. So, just a way to spread the word. We donít do a whole lot of marketing, per se, of your office, but I just want you to know that this is an easy down and dirty. I mean we donít want to get too complex and confusing for an interested business, but thatís all Iíve got to say, today.

 

STANLEY: I am not on this committee, but I will say that Jody is amazing.

 

OLCOT: Well, thank you.

 

STANLEY: She sits on our economic development committee, so anytime we have a new business that comes through the Town of Jay, Iím like, here you go, hereís your introduction and they take any business, itís amazing, so I thank you very much for your help.

 

OLCOTT: Youíre welcome and thatís all it has to be is just a handoff, because honestly most of the meetings and conversations that we have, as you can imagine, are confidential. So, unless it gets to a stage where we need to make a resolution at the IDA Board level or bring it to you, then you hear about it, but a lot of those conversations are obviously behind closed doors, so itís hard to report on. If you call me, usually weíll have an off the record conversation.

So, I just wanted to, this is Sarah, so sheís always been at our office, but you have probably never seen her, so I just wanted to bring her in and introduce her.

Thatís it, thanks.

 

***************************

 

††††††††††† The next item on the agenda was Community Resources with Anna Reynolds, reporting as follows:

 

REYNOLDS: Good morning, many referrals, today. The first is the Town of Westport, 116 Lake Shore Road. Robert McGee, you have seen this one before. The permit lapsed, so they have to go through the process, again. Theyíre constructing a new building for their business. Thereís no impact to county property and therefore a letter of no impact may be issued. Theyíre working with DPW, already, on the project.

 

TYLER: Moved by Ms. Thurston, second, Ms. Reusser.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF WESTPORT

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Thurston.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on April 15, 2024;

 

REFERRAL††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Westport - 116 Lake Shore Rd.††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Special Use Permit

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referral shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Reusser and passed on a vote of9 in favor, and none opposed.

 

TYLER: Any discussion? All in favor? Opposed?

 

REYNOLDS: Town of Westport, 774 State Route 22, ADK Dwelling, LLC, purchased a building. They need a special use permit for apartments, upstairs and retail/commercial on the first floor. Thereís no impact to County property and therefore a no impact letter may be issued.

 

TYLER: Mr. Clark, first, second, Mr. Barber.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF WESTPORT

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Clark.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on April 15, 2024;

 

REFERRAL††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Westport - 774 State Rte. 22†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Special Use Permit

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referral shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

††††††††††† This motion was seconded by Supervisor Barber and passed on a vote of9 in favor, and none opposed.

 

TYLER: Any discussion? All in favor? Opposed?

 

REYNOLDS: In the Town of Wilmington, 5644 NYS Rte. 86, the KOA Riverside Campground. A special use permit and site plan and variance applications are going through the community. Again, this is a resubmittal, theyíve updated their design plans. Thereís no impact to County property and therefore a letter of no impact may be submitted.

 

TYLER: Moved by Mr. Doty, seconded by Mr. Clark

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF WILMINGTON

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Doty.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on April 15, 2024;

 

REFERRAL††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Wilmington - 5664 NYS Rte. 86††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Special Use Permit, Site Plan and Variance Applications

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referral shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Clark and passed on a vote of9 in favor, and none opposed.

 

TYLER: All in favor? Opposed?

 

REYNOLDS: The Town of Ticonderoga, this is another project resubmission, theyíre building permit had expired, so theyíre going through the process, again. Located on 49 Veteranís Road, it is the Tier 3 Solar, they need a special use permit. They project was fully approved in 2022, there is no impact to county property and therefore a no impact letter may be issued.

 

TYLER: Moved by Mr. Thurston, second Mr. Clark.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF TICONDEROGA

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Thurston.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on April 15, 2024;

 

REFERRAL††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Ticonderoga - 49 Veterans Rd.††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Special Use Permit/Site Plan Review

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referral shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Clark and passed on a vote of9 in favor, and none opposed.

 

TYLER: All in favor? Opposed?

 

REYNOLDS: The Town of Ticonderoga, 100 Black Point Road, a 960 square foot, new driveway and parking to an existing home, that will replace the existing driveway and parking area at the home. A Right-A-Way Permit through DPW will be required.

 

TYLER: Moved by Mr. Thurston, second by Ms. Reusser.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF TICONDEROGA

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Thurston.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on April 15, 2024;

 

REFERRAL††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Ticonderoga - 100 Black Point Road†††††††††††††††††† new driveway and parking to replace existing driveway and parking areas

 

And Whereas, the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It adopted by the Essex County Planning Board recommends on said referral that the applicant will need an approved right of way permit which can be obtained from Essex County DPW.

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Reusser and passed on a vote of9 in favor, and none opposed.

 

TYLER: Any discussion? All in favor signify by saying aye. Opposed?

 

REYNOLDS: And last, but not least, the Town of Elizabethtown. So, I know I brought this to your attention via an email. 76 Park Street, theyíre going to build a new hospital services, behind the county lot, back here on Park Street. Itís a 13,000 sq. ft. medical building with parking and sidewalks and everything you need for a public facility and itís very close to the county property. So, even though thereís no intercountry, or inter-municipal impact, countywide, there may be a physical impact. So, I just wanted to throw that out there. Any formal comments can be submitted to the town, such as make sure you communicate with DPW and any storm water impacts and maybe including Jim on final design parameters. I donít know if anyone has anything specific? His comments were attached to the agenda.

 

TYLER: Moved by Ms. Reusser, seconded by Mr. Barber.

 

ACTION OF THE ESSEX COUNTY PLANNING BOARD

ON REFERRALS RECEIVED FROM THE TOWN OF ELIZABETHTOWN

 

The following motion was made by Supervisor Reusser.

 

Whereas, the Essex County Planning board has considered the following GML 239 referrals at its regular meeting on April 15, 2024;

 

REFERRAL††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† PROPOSED ACTION

Town of Elizabethtown - 78 Park St.††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Area Variance

 

And Whereas, none of the referred, proposed actions directly impacts a county road or county property.

 

Be It Adopted by the Essex County Planning Board that no recommendation or comment on the said referral shall be or hereby is made, and the respective referring bodies may take such final action as they deem appropriate.

 

This motion was seconded by Supervisor Barber and passed on a vote of9 in favor, and none opposed.

 

MONTY: Again, Iím not on the committee, but after reading what Mr. Dougan, put down for comments, I think itís very important that we do our due diligence on the county level and make sure our county property is being protected, as well as, we know our septic system isnít necessarily the best and you start digging from the ground, it could be undoing damage to our system, as well. So, I think Jim and his people really need to get together with their people and possibly even come up with some contractual language, if something were to happen, that protects us.

 

THURSTON: I agree with that statement, I was going to say the same thing. We should definitely have some type of a contact in place with them to prevent issues with our septic.

 

MASCARENAS: I am assuming this is going through your local planning board, as well?

 

REUSSER: It has.

 

MASCARENAS: Okay

 

TYLER: Anything else? All in favor? Opposed? Carried.

 

REYNOLDS: And I have a resolution. A resolution request for a one year time extension to June 2025m for the Wright Pierce Task Order 3-E, for the Town of Essex Water System, due to the project being under construction underway, we would like a one year extension to make sure that the asset management plan can be completed in a timely manner.

 

TYLER: Moved by Mr. Hughes, second, Mr. Doty.

 

RESOLUTION AUTHORING A ONE-YEAR TIME EXTENSION FOR THE WRIGHT PIERCE TASK ORDER 3-E, TOWN OF ESSEX WATER SYSTEM REVIEW, TO EXPIRE MAY 2025

Hughes, Doty

 

TYLER: Any comment? All in favor? Opposed?

Anything else for Ms. Reynolds?

 

MASCARENAS: Anna, is it okay if I give a quick update on your staffing?

 

REYNOLDS: Yes

 

MASCARENAS: So, all of you know that Mr. Wick, has left. We did run a search with about 4 different titles or something like that, just to see what we could get. A certain amount of Annaís work is dependent upon the individual that she has and the skill sets that they possess at a given time. That deadline was Friday, we did, probably have a half dozen titles, or a half dozen applicants in a variety of titles, if that makes sense to you. Weíre trying to cut that timeframe down by putting a few out there and sheíll getting those applications, tomorrow, because we take postmarked applications, as well, with a due date on Friday and sheíll go from there. So, you may see, in the future, depending on what sheís gets, that we have to kind of switch gears in some of the services that they provide and how weíre going to go about doing that. Rob, certainly had a specialty and that he was certified for. If we can get somebody like that, that would be great, not sure we will, itís a pretty specified field, but thereís lots of ways that we can get those things accomplished and weíll certainly put something together for the Board, moving forward, once we know who that individual is and what skill set they possess in terms of that.

 

MCNALLY: We have two positions available, correct?

 

REYNOLDS: So, with Robís departure, we would have that opening, but we put an administrative assistance in the budget into June.

 

MASCARENAS: Right, half a year, we budgeted a half year position there, to start.

 

MCNALLY: And then they will be hired on, on a probationary period, correct?

 

MASCARENAS: Correct.

 

REUSSER: How wide was the search? Our usual?

 

MASCAREAS: Usual search, but we did, what did we do for titles? We did administrative assistant?

 

REYNOLDS: Senior Account Clerk.

 

MASCARENAS: We did Grant Administrator and Project Manager, just to see what level of person we could attract, instead of kind of piecemealing this and doing one with ten days, we said letís do it all at once and weíll make it work with the person we get.

 

REYNOLDS: And we did it for a month.

 

MASCARENAS: Yeah

 

REYNOLDS: And posted it out there to various platforms across the region.

 

MASCARENAS: We did get at least six that I know of, across all of those different titles, which isnít a lot, but itís better than piecemealing it one title at a time and not getting somebody in that particular title and then having to go back out for another month. So, I think weíre getting smarter about the way we do things, but weíll see what we get.

 

MCNALLY: How many applicants were in-house?

 

MASCARENAS: I donít know of any names, yet. I asked for numbers. So, I will let you know on Tuesday.

 

MCNALLY: Because it seems like we just, rob Peter, to pay Paul, around here.

 

MASCARENAS: That is what we do, absolutely.

 

REUSSER: Itís called growing our own, Steve.

 

TYLER: Thank you.

 

***************************

 

††††††††††† The next item on the agenda was the Essex County Historian, Aurora McCaffrey having been previously excused:

 

*****************************

 

††††††††††† The next item on the agenda was Cornell Cooperative Extension, with Elizabeth Lee reporting as follows:

 

LEE: Good morning, everybody, you have my report, does anybody have any questions? If not I have a couple of things that I wanted to follow up on. I did send out an email and got a lot of comments about the 2022 Ag Census and I am working on the Field Office for USDA Statistics for New York State and I will, trying to set up a presentation, so you can ask a few more questions. There are a lot of questions about what the trends have been and kind of doing some comparisons and statistics items over time, about our farming, Ag community. So, I will follow up on that one.

I did attend a meeting with a number of farmers and people from the agriculture community, this month and they identified some top level concerns that they have, one of which is housing. So, I am sure thatís not news to any of you. But, it did seem like there was interest in trying to maybe meet with some of the other organizations, like Adirondack Roots and maybe some of you who, the Task Force, to talk specifically about what the needs are for farmer housing and whether itís seasonal or actually, year around. So, I will follow up, as well, with you.

Then I was going to give you a quick hiring update. We have three positions currently open that we are hiring for, two of which will be supporting farmerís markets and POP Club and one is a 4H positions and we have had a few applications, but theyíre really qualified, in some cases, so weíll take that and this week we will be hiring for a new agriculture and local food system team leader and when that opens, Iíll let you all know. We would love to hire, locally, of course, but we are going to cast a pretty big net across the whole CCE Extension system and statewide.

 

TYLER: Thank you

 

LEE: I have one more thing, which is I wanted to give a couple of minutes to Meghan Dohman to talk about Farm to School in Essex County.

 

DOHMAN: Thank you, Elizabeth. Good morning, for those of you that donít know me, Meghan Dohman, I am the Farm to Institution Educator, at CCE, here in Essex County.

I wanted to give a quick update about my position and then about some things that are going on in the County, related to Farm to School.

So, for the last year and half of so, I have been working part-time on a statewide team, doing Farm to School. The Statewide Team is CCE Harvest New York, if any of you are familiar. They do some work in climate change and ag issues and then we have a regional Farm to School Program Coordinator Team. So, there are a few of us all over the State covering some pretty large regions. So, up to this point I have been covering Essex, Clinton and Franklin Counties and starting in January, my time increased a bit on that team and beginning in the fall, I will be moving, full-time to that team and covering all of the North Country. So, I will still be focusing on Essex County, just only on purchasing and procurement. So, supporting the local schools to add more local foods into their meals, whether itís breakfast, lunch, snacks, after school programs, etc., and then the County will house an education position, so education will still continue in all of the districts and one of those POP positions that Elizabeth mentioned, they will do this Power Produce Club in the summer and then throughout the school year they will provide a lot of direct education into the schools within the county. I know that it sounds like it might be a big change, but I will actually be able to provide a lot more focused time on, with the schools in terms of procurement with this team. We do a lot of supply chain building, a lot of work in distribution, moving food throughout the State, which as some of you know, itís really difficult in the North Country to move food around. We donít have a lot of different routes to get food places and farms are really located in a few specific areas within the region. So, there is a lot of that building that needs to happen.

Progress has been going really well, so far in Essex County. We continue to see a lot of increases in terms of procurement, 8 of the 10 districts are currently buying some sort of local food, from most of them are building something within Essex County and then also from Clinton County or Franklin County depending on the district and the location and also CV Tech is buying, so I guess thatís technically 9. One school district has recently completed a culinary training for their cafeteria staff, with myself and Essex Food Hub and another district will be doing that in May.

In the report, I wrote that CVES, the schoolís BOCES that they utilize, is continuing to provide some geographic preference bids, which helps the schools to buy local food. I think we have 9 districts in Essex County that participated in that bid, this year. Itís going to be released sometime this week and then two districts have received whatís called local foods for schools money. So, they are directly purchasing local food, using that money that came down from the USDA.

Then in terms of education, we have staff at the office, since I havenít been able to do as much education. Theyíre currently teaching monthly curriculum in 7 or the 10 districts. Itís spanning different grade levels. We were just focusing on 2nd grade, we received a grant, last year, to focus on upper elementary levels. So, we have quite a few 5th grade, some 6th grade classes, as well.

We had every school participate in Ag Literacy Week, last month. We typically see that amount of participation, but had different grade levels, as well, not just 2nd grade for that. And weíre already getting requests and inquires about summer youth programs to do local food and Ag curriculum programs. So, just a few quick updates and if there is any questions?

 

STANLEY: This isnít a question and once again, Iím not on this committee, but the work, Meghan, has done is incredible. There are two articles that you can see, videos that you can see, the work that she has done in a couple of school districts. Itís so amazing to see how local food and fresh food will actually increase participation in school and itís so much better for these kids. Elizabeth, could you resend those links out to everybody just to look at?

 

LEE: Absolutely, yes.

 

STANLEY: Thank you, Meghan, for your time.

 

LEE: Itís worth your time to watch them, theyíre really good, worth your time.

 

TYLER: Thank you.

 

***************************

 

††††††††††† The next item was the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism with Jim McKenna reporting as follows:

 

MCKENNA: Actually, Michelle Clement, our Director of Marketing is going to give an update and then I have a few comments. If that is alright?

 

CLEMENT: Thank you, again, I am Michelle Clement, the Director of Marketing at ROOST. Typically, in April, if we are here, I would be talking about all the exciting things are team is working on, as we prepare for the busy summer season. Our big summer campaigns, major initiatives, event planning, etc., but right now, I do want to pause for a moment and reflect on what happened here in the Adirondacks, last Monday, with the total solar eclipse. I would stay, 15-months ago or maybe a little bit longer, our team came together and said, you know, itís time to start putting a program together for this and itís really one of the first major projects that we kind of taken on that really demonstrates our change from designation marketing to designation management. This is where we launched a website, one year out, put together a task force to listen to each community throughout the region to really prepare for this event that was happening. We got a lot of eye rolls, we got a lot of people laughing, saying, nobody is coming, but we kept going forward. We worked with each of our communities throughout the region. I know we hosted and I am being very conservative, at least 24-community meetings, talking about the three Tís; traffic, trash, transportation. You know, we really worked on focusing on designated viewing areas, put together a map of all of those areas for people to use that to plan. That tool, alone, had over a half a million, 500,000 views that went to that map, alone. Thatís not the resources, thatís not the website, thatís not anything else, just the map looking at designated viewing areas and parking areas, that each of our communities worked together to put together. We helped coordinate signage and glasses and worked with local and regional emergency services to develop a strong plan for this influx of people. We established a designated helpline, a phone number in the week leading up, it was actually two weeks, but people wait until the last minute and those 3-4 days, we had 696 calls come in and our team spent 20-hours of consecutive time on the phone, helping answer questions leasing up, up until the final minutes going in, people looking for those final areas and having that positive experience while they were here.

And now I want to reflect on some of the early estimated numbers that the impact of this had and this is just our early estimates on the, but the eclipse, direct economic impact, this was just for overnight stays, we are estimating at about $2,779,434.00. That is just overnight stays. Rumor has it, that there was a few, a small handful of day trippers, as well and so those numbers we are going to continue to track. We plan on doing with our Zartco data, that I know weíve spoken about, weíll have some mobile tracking data, credit card expenditure data, weíre really going to do a full analysis on the impact that it had, but just some of those early estimated numbers. What does that mean? Thatís over $111,000 in sales tax, just over $79,000 in occupancy tax and the Community Tourism Enhancement Fund, $52,809.00. Again, overnight visitation, only, and these are some early estimates on those numbers. Just to put in perspective, compared to last year, last year at the same time period was under $500,000.00, so that is a $2.2 million bump from one year to the next.

And again, I just want to commend everyone in this room and your communities for the hard work, you know, months and months of planning to make sure that we had a plan in place for things to go smoothly. I want to commend our team, I would be remiss if I didnít commend the team a ROOST that has been working on this.

Lastly, I just want to say how proud I am for the Adirondacks, for a Monday in April, what we pulled off and the experience that we had and the emails and the phones calls and the social messages that are coming in from our community residents, from our business owners, from people that came to the Adirondacks for the first time and canít wait to come back. So, you know, it was an amazing experience.

Again, I just want to say, that years ago, designation marketing, we would have placed a few ads and walked away and thatís going to be a nice bump in April, but with designation management, it was a lot about how do we protect our communities, how do we protect our resources, how do we create a positive experience for both residents and visitors and thatís when I want to hand it over to Jim McKenna, our CEO, who is really the leader in this transition from designation marketing to designation management.

 

WILSON: Just real quick, Michelle, I want to thank ROOST for the leadership they showed early and the guidance that they offered, right down to helping me get signs out for parking in viewing areas. I donít think it would have successful with the long term planning and the leadership that ROOST showed. So, thank you and thanks to your team, it really helped keep things moving in Keene and we had great visitors, with wonderful crowds. They all have a good experience, too and again, ROOST did a great job with the management of that.

 

DELORIA: Yeah, I want to thank ROOST, Newcomb, joined your bandwagon back in May of 2023 when this all first started and I am fortunate to have, Ken Hughís brother, David, under my employmentship and he put a team of about 7 people together. Newcomb had 1,350 people that pre-registered, so we know that they were at least coming our way, but we are estimating about 2,000 people attended our viewing and Iíve got aerial photos to prove it.

 

CLEMENT: That is awesome. Seeing the photos come in, I think one of the most rewarding moments was, you know, about 4:00-5:00, was is each of our Regional Managers throughout the regions who were on the ground that day, at different communities events, volunteering, were kind of reporting back to base, how things were, you know, that all clear, positive, Izzy had nothing, but wonderful things to say about working in Newcomb on that event.

 

DELORIA: We had one incident that lasted about 20 minutes, we ran out of toilet paper (laughter), but we had 10 outhouses in addition to the 3 public bathrooms that we had open. So, it was great, great to work with ROOST, looking forward to the next eclipse in 100 years.

 

CLEMENT: It just shows how strong our region is when we can work together.

 

DOTY: Michelle, naturally, I am just across the street from your office, so we see each other all the time, I was most impressed with the virtual meetings had, 2 of them that I was involved with, that had over 100 people at each session and they were from all around the County and outside the County. Many of you around this table were on that call. Very effective, your team is impressive and thank you.

 

CLEMENT: Thank you.

 

TYLER: Anything else? Thank you, maíam.

 

CLEMENT: Thank you.

 

MCKENNA: I just wanted to say that Mary Jane Lawrence would like to have been here today, but sheís going through a bid interview, today, just so we know.

This is likely my last meeting in front of the Board and you know, thinking about that and looking around the room, I think I might be the only person in this room that did committee and Board meetings or attended committee or Board meetings in the old board room, anybody else? So, you know, that goes back awhile and in thinking about it, too, you know I was trying to really put it in perspective what that really means and Iíve estimated that I have done 468 committee or Essex County board meetings over my tenure. You know, Iíve seen things, Iíve been in a fortunate position to see things change radically with this county over time and also during my tenure, Iíve also had an opportunity to work with other counties around the North Country on a pretty regular basis and I will tell you, our county is by far, in my mind, the best to work with, shows the most leadership, has been willing to take risks over time for the benefit of all and Iím sincerely proud and happy to have been a part of that and see that operation and itís a little sad for me, at times, you know thinking about it, but I am also, you know, I guess a lot of people say when they retire, that theyíre also happy and feel good and I think knowing what this county has been and how it treats things and is willing to take some risks, I think has allowed for the success that we see and I think thereís going to be some very strategic things accomplished, I think that this County understood, long before other counties started talked talking about it and when we look specifically at the travel industry, you know, I go back to 1990 when this Board did a contract with this office in Lake Placid to do all of the Essex County marketing and that was a significant step, because that was unheard of that time, it was everybody was on their own type of thing and thereís a countywide tourism, but you know there wasnít a concentration of efforts and through that leadership of this County, things have gradually grown and now itís almost an Adirondack mission overall and what that does, weíre one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Adirondackís, Essex County is, without a doubt in my mind and you know, I think real leadership.

The other one, I am going to point out a couple and thereís a couple hundred and the other one was the initiation of the original occupancy tax, back in 2000. It was a 2-year process, we got it going, but it was dedicated to tourism with the goal of not only increasing business, but generating more sales tax and generating private investment and we saw very quickly and I think our Chairman, pointed out that the largest driver of sales taxes in Essex County is the hotel industry and I think itís, Mr. Chairman, itís the only one in the State like that and you know, through that process what we determined, too, is that for each dollar generated in sales tax, because lodging is a 1/3rd of a visitorís expenditures, it generates about $3.00 in sales tax. So, each occupancy tax dollar, done properly, used to promote long-term in designation will generate about $3.00 in sales tax and I think weíve seen our sales tax rise accordingly in that time. You know, that was significant, because it took almost a million dollars off the county conifers to fund tourism, but then, even more exciting, I think it was this Board accomplished in 2020 and that was the additional 2%, because as Michelle said, itís not so much about marketing anymore, itís about maintaining and managing communities and that CTF, Community Tourism Enhancement Fund, you know thereís counties around the country trying, now to implement that. I mean thatís pretty significant, I think and I guess thereís a number of other things that could be talked about, but overall, looking at the future, which we really we should be doing, I mean thereís no sense talking about the past, thereís new challenges coming. There really is and thereís going to have to be ways that this Board the Department Heads and the contract agencies are going to deal with it like they have always have dealt with it, get out in front of the other areas, and we able to solve things and be leaders in it and I feel very confident that thatís going to happen.

Itís important, I think, as I leave, that I feel confident that the industry of tourism is going continue to grow and change, but it must be a larger benefit for our residents as we go down the road. I think whatís ahead of us when we look at climate change and climate refugees and migrants and everything thatís happening, weíre going to have to be more guarded of our assets in the future and I think that itís imperative on all of us to recognize that and to provide our residents with the leadership to make things work long term and thatís always what I have been motivated about. You know, my job was never about making money, it was about passion, it was about passion for this area and about passion for doing the right thing for the right benefits for our region. So, I am going to leave you pretty much with that, but one thing I think, well, I am going to be, you know, Iím going to stay with the Regional Economic Development Council, so, Iíll be around. I am going to start a job, June 1, actually Supervisor McNally was a reference, itís for Protect the Adirondacks (laughter), Iím just kidding, just kidding. No, I will be around, but you know, one thing that Iíve always tried to do and I think itís a benefit for all of us to do, when you plan your travel, always buy your gas in Essex County, because we keep the sales tax. Thank you, all. (applause)

 

MASCARENAS: I just want to say one thing about Jim, I stated here in 1999 and I quickly learned who Jim McKenna, was and heís been one of Essex Countyís greatest ambassadors and weíll surely miss him. A lot of the work he does, you donít see, but I can tell you, heís always advocating for us, our projects, what we need to get accomplished and for the betterment of the County. So, thank you, Jim. Youíve certainly been a good mentor to me, all these years. I appreciate it.

 

MCKENNA: Thank you very much.

 

STANLEY: Mr. McKenna, I have worked with you, on and off, for the past 20-years, before I worked here, in tourism and being on both sides of this, from the County side of things and in the private sector. Youíve always done what you can, ROOST has always done what they can to help out tourism in this County and I, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.

 

MCKENNA: Thank you.

 

TYLER: I think Iíll look for a resolution of appreciation.

 

GARVEY: You already did one.

 

TYLER: We already did that?

 

MASCARENAS: A couple of months ago.

 

MCKENNA: Yes, thank you, in January it was awesome.

 

 

***************************

 

††††††††††† The next item was the Essex County Land Bank with Nicole Justice-Green having been previously excused.

 

***************************

 

††††††††††† The next item was Adirondack Roots with Megan Murphy reporting as follows:

 

 

MURPHY: Good morning, everybody, Jim is always a hard act to follow and particularly today and we do really appreciate all the work that Jim has done over the years and I donít even want to admit how long I have known. Jim, so weíll just move on.

So, you do have my report and I just wanted to know if anyone had any questions?

 

TYLER: I donít see any.

 

MURPHY: Thank you.

 

TYLER: Anything else from this Committee?

 

MCNALLY: Yes, I am not on this Committee, I will be leaving on vacation, next week, so I will be gone for two weeks, hold your tears. I am hoping that someone on this Board will move a resolution in support of Mary Jane Lawrence to take over for Jim. Sheís been interviewing, basically the same thing that Mike did under Dan for years and years. Sheís very responsive, and sheís very familiar with this Board and how we like things done. She is a Essex County resident and sheís also been educated that Minerva, is in fact in Essex County. So, I am hoping that one of my fellow Board Members on this committee, the interview process is ongoing, they will be making the final determination in early May and I think this is the best move, personally, for Essex County to support Mary Jane Lawrence to take over this position.

 

TYLER: Mr. Doty will make that resolution. Second? Unanimous?

 

RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT OF MARY JANE LAWRENCE TO SUCCEED JAMES MCKENNA, AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE REGIONAL OFFICE OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM (ROOST)

Doty, unanimous

 

TYLER: Anything else? We are adjourned, thank you.

 

 

AS THERE WAS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THIS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/PLANNING/PUBLICITY COMMITTEE, IT WAS ADJOURNED AT 10:50 AM.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Dina Garvey, Deputy

Clerk of the Board