By Mike Pidanick
Tourism continues to be on the rise in North Tonawanda.
John Percy, president and CEO of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., gave a presentation at Tuesday's Common Council meeting at North Tonawanda City Hall, sharing some numbers. Many of the numbers showed tourism is moving in a positive direction.
A record $608 million was spent on tourism in 2015, up 4.8 percent from the prior year.
"Niagara County is a destination," Alderman Eric Zadzilka said. "It continues to be a destination. As the tourism continues to improve, if we work on ... lodging and having hotels here, there may be more tourism and more things coming in the near future as we continue to look at all these possibilities."
Also, in 2015, tourism contributed $40 million to local taxes, up 5.2 percent from the prior year.
Percy pointed out that, if you combine the local and state taxes generated by tourism, it reduces the tax burden by $841 per household. That's the highest in the Erie, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties - and Niagara is ahead by more than $300, according to Percy.
Of the budget, 67.8 percent was spent on marketing and sales, so the committee is working hard toward improving and not stuffing their own wallets, Percy said.
"A lot of time people think our salaries are through the roof," he said. "Only 27.2 percent was spent on personnel and only 4.4 were spent on general administration. So again, close to 70 percent on that budget is spent in the sales and marketing arena."
More changes are coming for the NTCC. Originally the announcement was expected for Jan. 31, although that's likely to change. But improvement is foreseen.
"We will be introducing a brand-new brand that we've been working on for 12 to 18 months," Percy said. "We are very excited about launching a brand-new brand that will benefit us all greatly."
In other news
•Terrace parking was a big issue in the public portion of Tuesday's council meeting, as several residents took time to express various concerns. Mayor Arthur G. Pappas reiterated the council has been working with legal and safety officials - and will continue to do so to resolve the concerns.
"This terrace parking issue has been a problem for several years and, recently, it's become even more of a problem," Pappas said. "I mentioned to the council that I want to bring everybody together one more time, hopefully for the last time, to look at this whole picture again."
•There will be no workshop on Tuesday, which is Election Day. On Wednesday, there will be a public hearing regarding the budget at 6 p.m. at City Hall.