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February 16, 2012

In These Otsego Hills: Pancakes, prognostication and potholes

We note that Christ Episcopal Church is once again sponsoring its annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, featuring pancakes, bacon, sausage, applesauce and beverage.

This year it will be held on Feb.21 in the Parish House, 69 Fair Street, from 4:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. The suggested donation for the dinner is $8 for adults and $4 for children under 12. Proceeds from the supper will benefit the Christ Church Global Mission outreach. For more information, contact the church office at 547-9555.

We also want to mention, while on the subject of church suppers and such, that we partook of the First Baptist Church’s Super Sub Sale which was held on Super Bowl Sunday. It was held as a fundraiser for the First Baptist Church Youth Group’s trip to Haiti.

Interestingly enough, when we perused the flyer for the event, which appeared on our front porch, we realized we could have our sub delivered  to our door. What a deal! Weimmediately ordered up two subs, one for lunch before the game, and one for supper during the game.

Just before noon, the subs arrived on cue, thanks to a young gentleman who told us he was looking forward to the trip. We wished him well with the fundraising event and then proceeded to gobble down the roast beef sub which we found to be not only most delicious, but also most generous. During the Super Bowl we prepared soup to go with our ham sub, which was equally delicious and generous, only to discover that we had to save half of the sub for Monday as we simply could not eat it all. All in all, we greatly enjoyed our subs and certainly hope that if the church offers such a deal again, we will be able to partake of it then also.

And while we, being football fanatics, enjoy the Super Bowl, especially if it was a good game as it was  this year, we were somewhatsurprised to realize that somehow Super Bowl Sunday has been elevated to the level of “holiday.” We find ourselves wondering why, and when, this happened. It seems somewhat of a stretch to us. But if it gets us subs from the First Baptist Church, we think we will go along with it.

We are also somewhat bemused by the Feb. 2 groundhog’s spotting of his shadow and thus predicting six more weeks of winter. We can’t help wondering if he was predicting six more weeks of winter from Feb. 2 or six more weeks of winter from whenever it might seem that winter actually arrives this year. Thus far it seems we have but had small teases of winter weather that have left us, at least, waiting for the real thing. No doubt the answer to our musing will be known by April or maybe May.

However, we were not surprised to read in last week’s paper the village of Cooperstown  Board of Trustees isconsidering overriding the so called 2 percent property tax cap. In fact, such a possible decision came as no surprise to us. And after further investigation, we have learned that the village has the same convoluted rules for the property tax cap as does the school district, which makes it most difficult to figure out exactly how much the tax levy can actually increase.

And added to this, we have discovered, is the fact that if any governmental entity miscalculates and does not ultimately fall within the 2 percent allowance, there will be fines which will have to be paid to the state. And, since any such fines would have to be paid by the taxpayers, we find it most ironic that the state would then be hurting the very taxpayers they claim to be wanting to help. To say that we don’t understand it is a huge understatement.

Therefore, we were most amused to discover that while going through columns that we wrote in 1986, we came across this item in the April 30 column: In closing, in these particularly stressful times in the area of village finance, we pass on to those concerned with formulating a village budget for the next fiscal year a practice of William Cooper’s which appears to have been unique for the time and a real boon to the economic growth of the new village. Cooper allowed the settlers here to pay for their land on the installment plan. Now, this hardly seems new to us in these days of monthly payments, but in Cooper’s day such an idea was certainly revolutionary. Cooper also allowed the settlers to make these installment payments with community service or with goods instead of cash.

We hope, those who now guide the affairs of Cooper’s village will remember the good Judge’s practice as they ponder what appears to be a rather hefty tax increase. Some will be willing to pay the increase without much complaining.

For those who find the increase burdensome, might not a payment plan similar to Cooper’s work to the advantage of all? We are sure that many citizens, for their community service, would be willing to repair the nearest pothole by stuffing their village tax bill into said depression thereby solving two problems at once.

About a month later, on  May 28th, we added thispostscript: In closing we wish to thank Jack Nevile for an article he sent us from The Sun News in Myrtle Beach which relates to a somewhat unusual method used in Conway, South Carolina, for repairing the ubiquitous potholes. Each year, for the past four years, on “Pothole Saturday” it seems that residents and city officials divide into teams and roam the streets filling the potholes.

This year, 12 teams, with four members per team, filled 1,183 potholes. Last year, the pothole patchers filled 1,237 potholes which saved the city $6,100. Since we enjoyed the article we thought we would pass it on for what it’s worth.

PLEASE NOTE : Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by e-mail at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com

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