LAKE GEORGE - On grocery shelves, state law demands that bold figures declare a product's price, aiding comparison shopping. It's federal law to clearly post itemized prices of new cars in the vehicles' windows.
But for those shopping for motel rooms as they drive through Lake George - "fuggedaboutit."
It's illegal for motel owners to post their prices, or at least claim their rates are among the lowest.
Or so motel owners and village leaders thought until this week.
The legality of posting prices became a murky issue recently when village officials couldn't locate their little code books they once handed out to motel and hotel owners, Mayor Bob Blais told village trustees Monday.
So maybe it wasn't illegal, as the town laws as officially recorded don't seem to prohibit price posting.
Blais recommended that village officials should now properly define motel and hotel price posting in the sign code provisions of the municipal zoning ordinances.
Blais suggested that the village allow posting of specific prices, but ban such vague terms as "low rates" or "lowest rates" so travelers won't be fooled by false claims.
He also said a new, revised code must assure that if a price is advertised on a sign, a room must be available at that exact price.
The price-advertising issue spurred some friendly debate.
Village Trustee Ray Perry said price-posting was a basic right and a service to the public.
"Competition breed business - posting rates is okay," he said.
Trustee John Earl offered a different opinion.
"Motels benefit if rates aren't posted," he said.
Trustee John Root, a former motel owner, said he was in favor of prohibiting specific rates on signs.
"I'm not in favor of posting rates - it's not very classy to throw numbers up on your sign-boards."
Perry reiterated that competition was good for all.
"Let's shake things up a little," he said.
In other business, Blais said that in tackling a pending effort to revitalize the west side of Canada Street, it was discovered that about six businesses have porches, steps, planters and benches that encroach on the sidewalks, which are village property.
With a comprehensive grant-funded effort approaching to beautify the streetscape with lights, benches, and decorative sidewalk paving and plantings, the village will have to seek to have the offending items or structures moved, or strike compromises with property owners, Blais said. He advised the trustees to walk along Canada St. in the next week or so and evaluate each situation that abridges the law. He said such issues needed to be settled before streetscape construction begins, perhaps as soon as several months.
"Lawsuits could hold up portions of the beautification project," he said.
In other business, Blais informed the village board that Warren County Sheriff Bud York was seeking some compensation for his office to provide patrol officers' overtime costs during Americade motorcycle rally, scheduled for June 7 through 12.
Blais reported that York needed the compensation, if the village indeed wanted the extra coverage, because the sheriff's office budget had been cut substantially.
Trustee Earl suggested that event promoter Bill Dutcher pay the overtime tab, which has been as much as $45,000 in prior years for the week-long annual rally.
Blais replied that the rally had a substantial economic benefit for all, and Dutcher was already getting $50,000 cash contribution from the county to offset costs.
Village officials said the extra patrol coverage was needed, considering the complaints heard in recent years about some unruly behavior, which officials have blamed primarily on the rowdy non-Americade bikers horning in on the event.
Trustee Root said that all residents of the county benefit from Americade, and it was unfair for village taxpayers to pick up the tab for the extra police protection.
Blais said he'd discuss with York in several days the proposed extent of the extra law enforcement and its cost before a proposed deal was returned to the board.