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September 5, 2013

Village releases early figures on paid parking

Cooperstown Crier

---- — The early figures on paid parking are in for the village.

Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said on Tuesday that the final revenue total for the new meters in the first year of paid parking on Main and Fair streets, which ended on Labor Day, was $169,672.85.

In addition, the village sold 750 $25 parking permits for an additional $18,750.

The figures are slightly lower than anticipated, but more than enough to cover costs and budgeted expenditures based on expected revenues, according to Katz. He said most of the shortfall was because of technical problems at Doubleday Field and in the start-up of the on-street paid parking.

The 13 pay-and-display meters, with shipping and setup charges, cost $103,840 and were purchased from Access Technology Integration Inc. The money came from reserve funds from the 2012-13 budget. In addition, the machines cost $50 per machine per month for processing and communications, a total of $1,950 for three months. In the offseason, the cost goes down to $10 per machine per month.

The additional funds will be used to repave Susquehanna Avenue this fall and begin work on the Main Street sidewalk project next spring. The Susquehanna paving work was budgeted contingent on the new parking system paying off, and will cost about $68,000.

“Revenue from on-street paid parking is allowing us to start meeting, in a more proactive way, the infrastructure demands of the village,” Katz said.

The revenue figures do not include the two meters moved to the Doubleday Field parking lot. The meters were moved after the old machines there were shut down because Verizon could no longer provide communication services for credit card transactions. The field parking lot will continue to be paid parking on weekends through Columbus Day, and revenue figures from those two machines will be available then.

The village projected $315,000 in parking revenue this year, counting both the new meters, the permits and the Doubleday lot. Last year, the Doubleday parking brought in about $125,000.

An increase in parking ticket fines, and the recouping of unpaid fines based on a new collection system, were also in this year’s budget projections but those figures are not available yet. All told, the village had hoped to raise an additional $250,000 in revenue.

“We recognize that some Main Street businesses have voiced their concerns, and we value them and their input,” Katz said. “The Village Board is charged with representing them, and many others – residents, property owners, Bassett, the Hall of Fame and many more parties and interests. It is our desire to balance the needs of all who contribute to the well-being of our village.”

Katz said that the new revenue raised by the village would be the equivalent of a 10.6 percent tax increase.

The village is still awaiting the results of the lawsuit filed by Brenda Berstler. Berstler’s lawsuit argues that the village law, Local Law No. 3 of 2013, should be annulled under Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules.

State Supreme Court Judge Kevin Dowd heard arguments in the lawsuit on July 26 in Norwich. He has until late September to issue a decision.

Berstler announced last week that she would be closing her store, which was at 171 Main Street.

In a previous interview with the Cooperstown Crier, Berstler said that she had expanded her business beyond Cooperstown and no longer needed the expense of operating a store front in the village if village policies were going to affect her bottom line. She now sells branded products online and through other retailers in Albany, Herkimer and Verona.

“We are not going out of business,” Berstler said on her business’ blog. “In fact, to demonstrate our commitment to our valued customers and American producers, we have expanded from Savor New York to Savor USA, a major acceleration and an exciting one.”

Katz said that he was sorry to see Savor New York close, but that business turnover has always been a constant in the village. 

“I’m never happy to hear that businesses are shutting down on Main Street,” he said.