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Room Occupancy Fee Amendment Supports Akwesasne Tourism

Dec 1, 2016

AKWESASNE — The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council announced they have adopted Tribal Council Resolution #2016-88 during its weekly work session held on Wednesday, Kentenhkó:wa/November 30, 2016 that amends the Tribe’s Room Occupancy Fee Ordinance. The resolution expands the two previous designated usage areas of the Room Occupancy Fee to now support the ongoing diversification of Akwesasne’s economy through the Creating Akwesasne Tourism Industry Businesses and Jobs Initiative.

“The Tribe is continually searching for ways to provide the greatest benefit to the Akwesasne community at a time when some areas are experiencing limited funding or typically don’t get funded,” said Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance. Chief LaFrance added, “The Room Occupancy Fee is one measure the Tribal Council has implemented to financially support the well-being of community members, as well as to now strengthen our local economy through the development of a tourism industry. It will support work currently being undertaken by the Akwesasne Tourism Working Group to promote tourism and stimulate economic growth.”

In 2013, the Tribe implemented the Room Occupancy Fee Ordinance to financially support tribal member’s increasing need for recreational services and educational programming. The regulation imposed an assessment of $10 per room for each day of occupancy. The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort began collecting the fee in September 2013, while the Comfort Inn was added in the spring of 2014. TCR #2016-88 expands the fee’s two initial areas of funding to now promote employment opportunities and economic development through an Akwesasne tourism industry.

“The Room Occupancy Fee Amendment exercises with the Tribal Council’s authority to implement needed measures under the Tribe’s jurisdiction that are in the best interest of all tribal members, as well as protects our community’s sovereign interests,” stated Tribal Chief Eric Thompson. Chief Thompson noted, “The fee is consistent with its usage by other governmental entities and will help provide long-term sustainability of the overall Akwesasne Tourism Development Initiative that originated from community member’s input in 2008.”

In addition to supporting the ongoing development of local tourism, the Room Occupancy Fee has helped provide needed funding for the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club in replacing its older van to safely transport youth, the Early Childhood Development Program in purchasing a Head Start bus, the Salmon River Central School in establishing a welding program, and has helped make improvements at the Travis Solomon Memorial Lacrosse Box at Generations Park. This has allowed the two former-Head Start buses to be donated to the Mohawk Indian Housing Corporation and the American Legion Post #1479.

“I am proud the Room Occupancy Fee now enables the Tribe to provide ongoing financial support to our community’s stakeholders in their efforts to develop a tourism industry that will create jobs and benefit local businesses,” said Tribal Chief Beverly Cook. Chief Cook added, “The Tribe is pleased that it can help the collaborative work of the Akwesasne Tourism Working Group as they promote further

knowledge of our community’s uniqueness and opportunities by fostering a respectful understanding of Akwesasne. We look forward to helping them share the best that our community has to offer to our visitors, as well as our own community members.”

About the Akwesasne Tourism Development Initiative:

The need to develop tourism in the Territory of Akwesasne was identified as a priority in the Akwesasne Comprehensive Community Development Plan (SRMT 2008) and in the Akwesasne Comprehensive Community Plan (MCA 2016). As a result, the Akwesasne Tourism Community Development Initiative was developed through the collaborative efforts of the following representatives that comprise the Akwesasne Tourism Working Group (ATWG): Native North American Travelling College (NNATC), Akwesasne Cultural Center Library & Museum (ACCM), Onkwehon:we Arts Council (OAC), Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs (MNCC), Akwesasne Area Management Board (AAMB), Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA), and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT).

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The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People.