Trustee Walter Franck said the reason the board is considering paid parking is because the village needs to fix what is under the streets.
“The infrastructure in this village is critically in need. We need a way to come up with $900,000 a year. We’ve got to find a way to solve this issue.”
Franck said he doesn’t like paid parking, but tourists are an untapped source of revenue.
Trustee Lynne Mebust said it is necessary to look at how paid parking fits into the overall parking plan. She also suggested that it would be possible to bring in paid parking in stages that would allow the board to evaluate all aspects of it.
Board member Ellen Tillapaugh said she sees paid parking as a way to not have locals bear so much of the burden.
“I would like to see a phased approach; take it step-by-step,” she said. “We’re asking tourists to help fund us.”
“I think we have done our due diligence. Our revenue needs can not be met with reductions in costs, it will have to come from another source of revenue,” Franck said. “Other options are one-time infusions like grants. We need to come up with a way of bringing revenue into the village; not just next year, but every year. It’s a reasonable way of doing it, the lesser of evils.”
Katz spoke of the money Cooperstown generates for the county through bed and sales taxes. It sees little of the money, he said.
According to Katz, paid parking in the Doubleday Field parking lot generates revenue equivalent to a 9 percent tax hike.
Falk said it would be possible to program the pay and display machines to allow free 15-minute parking in every space and paid after that. It would, she said, address some of the concerns presented by business people.