The Niagara County Legislature voted this week to raise the county's "bed tax" on hotel and motel bills from 4% to 5%.
The change, authorized by a state law passed last year, diverts the entire proceeds from the increase to the Discover Niagara Shuttle, which provides free rides for locals and tourists on a route between Niagara Falls and Youngstown.
The cities of Niagara Falls and Lockport also raised their bed taxes by 1% to pay for the shuttle, which will add Lockport to its route. The tax provides a permanent funding source for the shuttle, which had been funded by grants from the New York Power Authority and western Niagara County local governments.
In another tax matter, the County Legislature sent a request to Albany to keep the county sales tax at 8%. The county raised its sales tax from 7% to 8% in 2003, with the extra revenue earmarked for Medicaid. The 8% tax is to expire Nov. 30, but the extension would last until Nov. 30, 2023.