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Rockland County Awards Record-Breaking $298,000 in Tourism Grants to Boost Local Economy

County Executive Ed Day and Director of Economic Development and Tourism Lucy Redzeposki announced $298,000 in grants to 31 organizations promoting tourism in Rockland Friday, the highest amount ever.

“Tourism has endless benefits; it creates jobs, strengthens economies, and contributes to infrastructure development,” said County Executive Day. “Since 2014, the sales tax revenue collected in the County of Rockland has increased every year except for 2020, due to the pandemic shutdowns. This success is a credit to our conservative spending practices and investments in local economy through grants like these which have helped us dig out of a $138-million deficit into a healthy surplus.”

That revitalization has enabled the County to enact several measures to alleviate costs for families who the past several years have struggled from the devastating health and economic consequences of the pandemic followed by 40-year high inflation and sky-rocketing gas prices.

Those measures include:

2% County Property Tax Cut, following 2 years of no County Property Tax increase

Continuing to waive our bus fare for riders since the pandemic

Expanded property tax deductions under New York State for seniors and volunteer first responders

The County also repealed the energy tax at the end of 2022 saving families $12 million annually, equivalent to an 8.4% County Property Tax cut. As the State of New York lumped Energy Tax in with sales tax, the sunsetting of this law at the end of 2022 is resulting in what looks like a sales tax collection decrease in Rockland for 2023 but that reduction is only reflecting the elimination of Rockland’s Energy Tax cut.

“Tax collection for 2023 continues through April and at that time we’re confident our sales tax for that fiscal year will once again increase despite our early sunset of the Energy Tax,” said County Executive Day. “It’s investments in our local economy including our Tourism Grant Awards that are a direct contribution of this success as tourism offsets costs for residents.”

The average household in Rockland would have to pay an additional $581 in yearly property taxes to maintain current services if not for tourism-generated sales and local taxes. In 2022, tourism also generated:

6,532 jobs in Rockland County, a 7.6% increase over 2021.

$513 million in visitor spending, a 104.7% increase to 2019 and 18% increase vs. 2021.

$1.4 million in Occupancy Tax revenue, a 26% increase over 2021.

“Economic development via tourism plays a major role in the health and vitality of the county,” said Economic Development and Tourism Director Lucy Redzeposki. “The organizations awarded today will be able to showcase our county and attract visitors.”

The county-funded grants are competitive and performance expectations are attached to every dollar awarded.

“We have every confidence that the organizations receiving these funds will promote the County and meet our performance expectations. We also know this will bring visitors who once they experience our theaters, art centers, riverfronts, and downtowns, will keep coming back,” concluded County Executive Day.

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