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‘First Light’ New Year’s Eve Celebration Will Happen In Cortland After All

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Downtown Cortland’s ‘First Light’ New Year’s Eve celebration is now back on for this year.

The Cortland Downtown Partnership made the announcement Friday (November 30) and says the event’s return is due to the County Legislature’s decision last week to partially reinstate funding to the Partnership out of the County’s hotel occupancy tax revenue.

Much controversy ensued last week when the Partnership announced that proposed cuts made to its share of the occupancy tax would cause the cancellation of many downtown events, including New Year’s Eve, Chill-A-Bration and more. The County did vote to give the partnership prior to last Thursday’s (November 29) budget meeting, prompting Friday’s announcement that New Year’s Eve is back on.

Still, the Partnership’s release also says other upcoming favorites are still up in the air “pending additional community and private business support.”

In response to these announcements, the Cortland County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) also released a statement Friday, saying it is “patently false” that it cut or encouraged cuts in funding to the Downtown Partnership.

“The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau supports the various events that the Downtown Partnership is involved with,” Executive Director Meghan Lawton said in the release. “We recognize that a decision to defund the agency entirely could have a negative impact on the quality of life in the County.”

Lawton also said recommendations were passed within next year’s County budget that do provide funding for each of the events the Partnership submitted requests for–the events the Partnership still says are in jeopardy.

She reaffirmed that County occupancy tax dollars, also known as “room taxes,” are meant by law to be used exclusively for the marketing of events to visitors outside the County; not for payroll and staffing as the Partnership indicated it needed help with.

Bottom line: New Year’s Eve is back on in Cortland, so plan to ring in the New Year with those closest to you.

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