COOPERSTOWN _ The Otsego County Intergovernmental Affairs Committee has appropriated $25,000 for a new Tourism Compensation grant program.

Funded by the county's occupancy tax, the grant program is available to municipalities and other organizations for extraordinary expenses attributed to the tourism industry, including providing additional services; maintaining or repairing public facilities; preventing or repairing environmental damage caused by tourism-related pressures.

Applicants must seek compensation for expenses directly caused by tourism. If unfunded, those expenses would be borne by local taxpayers or funds diverted from other budget lines. Expenses incurred by local events will not be considered for funding.

Grants will be limited to a maximum of $10,000 per organization. Any town, village or city in Otsego County may apply, as well as any non-profit agency operating solely with the county.

The Board of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on a proposal to allocate $100,000 in bed-tax revenue to the village of Cooperstown.

The plan has made it through two county committees, with support from Rep. James Johnson, who called Cooperstown the ``crown-jewel in Otsego County tourism'' and said he believes it is only fair that the county share some its bed tax revenue with the village.

Applications are due by Aug. 1, with awards announced by Sept. 30. The IGA Committee will serve as the application review board.

The guidelines and application forms are available at the Otsego County Tourism Office or at 643-0059.

Grant guidelines and applications have been mailed to county townships, villages, the city of Oneonta and county-based environmental organizations.

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