On-street paid parking may have hurt Main Street businesses in Cooperstown this summer –there is no reason to doubt any business owners who say their revenues were down – but Cooperstown’s share of sales tax revenues was up 2 percent from 2012 for the month of June, the first full month of the new parking fees, according to village treasurer Ed Keator.
“We’re slightly up from last year, which is a good thing,” Keator told the village trustees at Monday’s monthly meeting. “The important thing to note is it will be up from the budgeted amount.”
The village received $26,739.10 in sales tax revenues from sales in June 2012. The amount this year is $27,299.82, an increase of $560.72.
While the added revenues were greeted as good news, Cooperstown mayor Jeff Katz acknowledged that there is not a direct correlation between sales tax figures and the bottom line of village businesses.
By state law, of the sales tax revenues returned to local governments, Otsego County gets 76 percent, Oneonta gets 12 percent and the other municipalities share the remaining 12 percent. Katz said the breakdown ends up with Cooperstown getting about 1 percent of the total revenue. That amount is not based on sales tax from Cooperstown, but on county wide sales.
“There are two ways you can look at it,” Katz said. “One is that (paid parking) wasn’t devastating. Two is that it was and conceivably Cooperstown sales were lower but the county sales tax was up dramatically to make up for lower sales tax in Cooperstown.
“It is conceivable, but not likely,” he added.
Katz said he had been waiting for the June numbers and is hoping a similar increase will take place in July. While the village budgeted sales tax figures for the 2013-2014 fiscal year based on 2012-2013 numbers, it estimated $10,000 less for July 2013 than in 2012 because of the lack of a headline Baseball Hall of Fame Induction class.
“If it turns out that July is up dramatically, then it will be a big increase in revenue for us,” he said.
In other news Monday, after public hearings, the trustees unanimously passed two local laws and approved a SEQRA review of the public docks.
Local Law #12 will create a handicap parking space on upper Main Street. The space will be created from two existing spaces close to 169 Main St. and will not be subject to any paid parking requirements.
Local Law #13 removed four two hour parking spaces from the north end of Nelson Avenue. Residents had complained that employee parking from the Otesaga was jamming up the street and blocking driveways. Village employees investigating the complaint said the street was unsafe for emergency vehicles.
Rick Jagels, who lives at 22 Nelson St., said the law does not do enough, and that he fears the change will push the problem down the block.
“The proposed law is sound, but somewhat arbitrary,” he said. “This is not a residential problem, nor is it a tourist problem. This is solely a hotel employee problem. There is a use of approximately 10 to 12 spaces from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. This is for three to four distinct shifts. They are creating a most un-residential presence.”
Jagels said that he has met with Otesaga officials and has been told that Otesaga employees are not allowed to park in the hotel parking lot during peak seasons, and that management is unwilling to do anything further to encourage shuttle usage.
The trustees agreed to pass the proposed law rather than table it and hold another public hearing in two months without taking some action. However they did agree to refer the matter back to the public safety committee to see if the parking ban should be extended.
The approval on the SEQRA hearing about the village boat dock revitalization project came after officials determined that the project would not affect the environment in any detrimental way.
The trustees also passed two suggestions from the Doubleday Field committee. They voted to officially increase Doubleday Field rentals to four games a day for tournament rentals and to allow HOF president Jeff Idelson to set up a system to gather data from customers next year. The fourth game rentals, which were offered unofficially to tournaments, will be at full price.
“This way you don’t have to have secret information to know it is available,” trustee Cindy Falk said.
Katz, Falk and trustees Ellen Tillapaugh and Jim Dean all voted for the changes. Trustees Lou Allstadt, Joan Nicols and Bruce Maxson were not at the meeting meaning all four remaining votes were needed for any measure to pass.