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August 11, 2013

Paid parking recoups initial expense

Arguments made in Savor New York lawsuit

Cooperstown Crier

---- — Paid parking has recouped its initial investment, according to a media release from the village.

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. The revenues will go into the 2013-14 budget and will be used, in part, to repave Susquehanna Ave. in the fall. The cost of that project will be about $68,000.

Two of the meters have been moved to the Doubleday Field parking lot after the old machines were shut down because Verizon could no longer provide communication services for credit card transactions. The money from those two machines is counted separately, and was not included in the village’s tally.

In addition to the meter money, the village sold 750 parking permits as of Tuesday, bringing in an additional $18,750.The money from the permits is also counted separately, and was not included in the village’s tally.

On July 26 in Norwich, state Supreme Court Judge Kevin Dowd heard arguments in the lawsuit filled by Savor New York owner Brenda Berstler against the village.

Berstler’s lawsuit, which has been signed by more than a dozen other merchants, 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.

The article deals, in part, with municipal laws or judgments that were made with errors, done in an arbitrary or capricious manner, or involve an abuse or excess of judgment.

According to motions made by Berstler and her lawyer Jim Konstanty, several parts of the law need review for Article 78 violations. It is their belief that mailing parking permits is discriminatory to out of town visitors. They also stated that the parking fees are arbitrary, and need to be specified by law.

Dowd has 60 days to issue a ruling.

Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz said he could not comment on the parking issue because of the lawsuit. However, he did say in the media release that the trustees will review the details of the paid parking and make appropriate changes for next season.

“At the end of the parking season, the village trustees plan to review this year’s experience with paid parking,” Katz said in the release.

Katz had previously said that he had heard several good ideas for changing the paid parking system, and that he and the trustees were willing to make changes for next season based on responses from merchants, residents and visitors. Two frequent suggestions have been to changes the hours of operation to later in the day to allow free parking in the morning and to allow the transfer of permits if a car is replaced.

The paid parking is 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. 31.