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June 20, 2013

Paid parking upsetting merchants

Software glitches resolved; village stressing finances


The synopsis states that the only way for the village to generate revenue is from taxes and fees. By law, the village only gets 1 percent of sales taxes; by comparison the county gets 76 percent. The city of Oneonta gets 12 percent. The village also gets none of the county bed tax, although it has been given some of that tax in the past.

Cooperstown receives about $300,000 in sales tax revenues, but according to the synopsis, generates 10 times that amount. Since the village is losing out on a “fair” share of its sales tax revenues, past mayors have looked into Cooperstown becoming a city, and therefore keeping its sales and bed taxes. To do so, would require a bill to be passed in the state legislature and signed by the governor.

With revenues limited, and infrastructure in need of fixes or in some cases complete overhauls, the village turned to paid parking after years of debating it. The new paid parking is on Main and Pioneer streets seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. On weekends, it will extend until Oct. 27.

As of Tuesday, 640 parking permits have been sold, bringing the revenue total to $16,000 plus revenues from the parking meters and tickets; neither of the latter two figures are available yet.

While some merchants are sympathetic to the needs of the village, they are also aware of their own bottom lines.

“I am sympathetic to them,” said Brenda Berstler, owner of Savor New York. “They are desperate for revenue. If you can’t raise taxes, if you are not a city and only a village, then there are only so many things you can do.”

“People never like change,” she continued. “But the execution was clumsy. (The village) could have made it like getting into a bath of tepid water. Instead they made it ice water.”

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