Cuomo OK’s Oneida County ‘bed tax’ increase, Nexus project moves ahead

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UTICA, NY (WUTR-TV) — Governor Andrew Cuomo has approved a hotel/motel occupancy tax increase for Oneida County, propelling plans forward for a multi-use sports complex in downtown Utica.

Oneida County’s ‘bed tax’ hike–two percent to five percent–is expected to take effect Feb. 1, said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente following Cuomo’s Dec. 20 approval; six months after the state legislature gave the go-ahead.

“Clearly we needed this to really complete the funding stream for Nexus and get it started,” Picente said.

In January, the state announced a $22 million commitment to support the then-estimated $44 million project called the Nexus Center–the remaining to be financed through the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority.

‘Aud Authority’ Chair Carl Annese says details how the project will receive financial backing “will all be in an announcement at the appropriate time.”

Picente estimates two percent of the new ‘bed tax’ will support county capital projects, including Nexus. While the remaining three percent would help county projects promoting, and supporting tourism.

“Two percent can account for as much as $750,000 a year. That’s a significant amount to contribute to debt service,” Picente said.

The county executive says “while the tax could still assume, at least, two thirds of the operating debt on Nexus in the initial years, the goal–again–being that Nexus becomes more self-sustaining.”

Picente says construction on the project is likely to occur on or before Feb. 1.

Annese said no general contractor bid for construction has yet been awarded.

Picente says the eyed completion of the athletics facility “is that Nexus is open by the end of — by the end of 2020. Not at the end of 2020.”

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