Fulton County OKs tourism funds

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce will have more than $115,000 to spend on promoting Fulton County after county government approved matching state funds.

The Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved using $58,135 in county funds to match the same amount awarded to Fulton County through the I Love New York tourism matching funds program.

The state and local funding will give the chamber about $40,000 more than it had last year. The state provided $38,422 in 2012, which the county matched.

The chamber uses the money to fund several publications, including brochures, maps and travel guides, as well as newspaper, magazine and online ads targeted for readers more than 50 miles away, said Gina DaBiere-Gibbs, the chamber’s tourism director.

“Currently, our governor is advocating for tourism and different initiatives relating to tourism, so this year, more funds are available for I Love New York programs, which means there were more funds available for matching funds grants,” she said.

The state awarded about $4 million for the I Love New York program, DaBiere-Gibbs. Counties are eligible to apply for up to 5 percent, and Fulton County asked for all of it – indicating it would match as much as $199,250 if it were awarded. The county is required to match the state award in order to accept the funding.

The county has constantly funded the I Love New York tourism initiative, but not without some delays. Supervisors in 2010 chose to not budget $53,810 in matching funds for 2011, amid other county cutbacks, but then the board in June 2011 opted to fund the program.

This year’s debate was straightforward, said Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Genrdon, the board chairman in 2012 and current Finance Committee chairman.

“We put in the projected amount and everyone agreed we would match it once the state came through,” he said.

Despite a 2012 merger that brought together the Fulton and Montgomery County chambers of commerce, the funds can be used only to promote Fulton County tourism. Montgomery County’s funding – about $70,000, including the state match – is administered by the county Economic Development Corp.

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