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June 22, 2012

Your Opinion: June 21, 2012

Cooperstown deserves more bed tax dollars

Last Thursday I appeared before the county’s IGA (Intergovernmental Affairs) Committee to explain why Cooperstown is deserving of Bed Tax money.

Presenting a pie chart provided by the county treasurer’s department, I pointed out that two-thirds of the over one million dollars generated in bed tax originates from the Cooperstown “magnet” – the towns of Otsego, Milford, Middlefield and Hartwick (after all, it is called “Cooperstown” Dreams Park). From the information I’ve gathered, virtually all of the Town of Otsego bed tax is generated within Cooperstown’s boundaries.

I spoke about how Cooperstown bears nearly all the burden of its infrastructure, while at the same time providing the economic engine for county tourism. The Gateway project, which will help village wide parking issues for visitors and businesses alike and vastly improve traffic patterns around Cooperstown High School, is something Cooperstown is paying a sizeable amount for, with its beneficial effects spreading far beyond Cooperstown. I also touched on the engineering report for the proposed Main St. renovations, a project which, if completed, has, like the Gateway, positives that stretch beyond Cooperstown itself, in increased tourism and greater sales tax generation.

Bear in mind that as it stands now, by law, Cooperstown receives an allocation of 1 percent of all county sales tax. That’s one out of every hundred created. Using the bed tax number generated as a guide, it is likely that within Cooperstown itself, we create at least twice the sales tax dollars than we receive back.

At the end of my talk I suggested two paths. One would be a direct distribution to Cooperstown of $100,000.

Two would be an equitable distribution based on bed tax creation. If, for example, $250,000 was carved out of annual bed tax and sent back to the municipalities that created it, Cooperstown would receive $75,000. For the last two years, we’ve received nothing. I also recommended that whatever decision was arrived at, it would be helpful if this became, if not law, at least policy, so that each year it was not discussed anew.

Ultimately, something must be done to recognize, financially, what Cooperstown provides to the economic well-being of Otsego County.

It is increasingly difficult for the taxpayers of this village to go it alone, especially since money created in Cooperstown benefits all the municipalities in the county and the county itself. It is sadly ironic that the Village Government of Cooperstown, responsible for keeping the village running, struggles to keep apace of the infrastructure needs required to keep the engine of so much economic production running smoothly.

Jeff Katz


Village of Cooperstown

Applauds ban on chemicals On behalf of the Otsego County Conservation Association,

I am writing to applaud the village for its consideration of a ban on the use of pesticides and herbicides on properties owned and maintained by the village of Cooperstown, including Doubleday Field. We also commend the village’s Environmental Conservation Committee for its endorsement and introduction of such a ban.

Ultimately, OCCA advocates a pest management policy which is free of synthetic pesticides and herbicides. We oppose the widespread use of these chemicals due to their harmful effect on the environment and human health while supporting limited use, when necessary, under the principles of integrated pest management with the goal of moving instead to organic control strategies that are proven to be safe and environmentally friendly.

OCCA praises the village’s current efforts to curtail the use of pesticides and herbicides on village property which are, to my knowledge, unprecedented. We recognize that realistically, in addition to important environmental and health concerns, budgetary and manpower constraints must also be considered. As such, we encourage village officials to reach out to municipalities which have already made the successful transition to organics, to benefit from their experience and to avoid possible pitfalls. Among these are Woodbridge, Conn;Needham, Mass; and Ashland, Ore. We also recommend the “Pesticide Reduction Resource Guide for Citizens and Municipalities of Massachusetts” (includes a step-by-step outline for municipal pesticide use reduction, a basic guide to pesticide characteristics and hazards, and appropriate organic alternatives) and Northeast Organic Farming Association’s “Standards for Organic Land Care” for guidance. As the “First Village” on the Susquehanna River, Cooperstown has an opportunity here to set the standard for municipalities to follow all the way to the Chesapeake Bay.

At the same time, we are cognizant of the village’s many responsibilities to its citizens and appreciate that you are proceeding carefully and with common sense. Thank you again for recognizing and acting upon the Conservation Committee’s very real concerns.

Darla M. Youngs

Executive Director

Otsego County Conservation  Association Questions truck purchase

At the Town Otsego Board meeting on April 11, 2012 the town board approved funding of a 2013 International sixwheeled, 4x4 plow truck costing $199,741.45 with murky specification requirements and bidding procedures.

A simple review of town board minutes of the last 10 years will show multiple discussions regarding the need and functionality of this limited, single-use vehicle. Rising fuel and labor costs would warrant the purchase of another multiuse 10-wheeler, but not a 4X4, with greater payload capacity providing much needed fuel and labor efficiency. The prior town board got rid of 3 4x4 trucks as there was no need to have them sitting in the town barn and not being used. At this meeting I explained that we have not had hard winters like we had in the past. I was told by a councilperson at this meeting that she would do whatever the highway superintendent wanted.

I am not sure where the town board was this winter.

Sheila Ross

Fly Creek

Crayon Carnival says thanks

Crayon Carnival and the Stroll of Nations went off again this year without a hitch in its 31st year! Dougherty’s Fun Services filled the Cooperstown High School Gymnasium on Saturday, March 24, with six inflatables, 12 games and balloons for all the little ones.

Aaron Idleson DJ’d the event with great music. Faculty and staff of CCS donated more than 60 cakes to be auctioned off in the unique Cake Walk. Elementary Principal Teresa Gorman is always a wonderful master of ceremonies and the kids love to see her. To make this event happen, Joanne Crowson and Beth Lesko rounded up over 200 parents, students and family members to man booths, watch kids bounce away, serve food, paint faces, tell fortunes, raffle baskets, sell tickets, and hand out prizes. Many thanks go out to all of you! This event would not be possible without all the help and support you offer.

The profit from this one day event brings in $10,000 for the Cooperstown PTA. The monies help fund field trips, new technology for classrooms, teacher requests, project prom, summer music lessons, summer reading program, library books for elementary and middle/ high school, history day, kid garden, and so much more. To all who came out and enjoyed the day you too deserve a special thank you for donating to the PTA.

From the Carnival Chair: A special thank you must go out to those who stepped up and chaired a committee. Joanne Crowson and Beth Lesko who worked tirelessly to round up those volunteers, Sheri Holohan and Kara Grady for working the food court and to the families and local establishments who donated international foods, thank you! Kim Jastremski and her crew that included fifth-grade students this year for their hard work this is always such a great place to visit and a lot of information is learned and hard work of the volunteers shows. The “green” prizes are always a welcome addition to the many little ones who are excited to choose one. Cari Lifgren, Gwen Snyder, Gillian Spencer, Betsy Danes and their crew who put together over 90 baskets and items to raffle off. Mary Raffo for handling the money aspect of this huge event. Mary Tedesco, a special thank you for your dedicated three years as cake walk chair. I appreciate all of your hard work and the cakes are always wonderful!

Thank you and know that I will miss you next year. To all of you, your long hours and hard work is appreciated!

The PTA would also like to thank all of the donors: Underwriters ($500+) The Clark Estates, Inc, The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway Corporation. Sponsors, Cooperstown Beaver Valley Cabins and Campsites and Cooperstown Baseball Camp.

($250-$499) Marcy Birch- Barnyard Swing Miniature Golf, NBT Bank, NA, SEFCU Insurance Agency, Stewart’s Shops, Cooperstown Dream’s Park, Bassett Healthcare Network, Caruso Orthodontics P.C. Otsego County Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Assn.. Supporters ($100-$249) Church & Scott, Inc., Connell, Dow, & Deysenroth, Inc., Ashley-Connor Realty, Gozign, Washburn & Clinton Attorneys at Law, Leatherstocking Cooperative Insurance Company, John Mitchell Real Estate, Taylor’s Mini Marts, Mohican Flowers. Friends ($10-$99) Spurbeck’s Grocery, Key Bank, Huff Ice Cream, Otsego Electric Cooperative, Inc, Cooperstown Performing Arts, Bank of Cooperstown, Golub Corportation, Price Chobber of Cooperstown, Leatherstocking Region Federal Credit Union, Creekside Bed & Breakfast, Sal’s Pizza, NY Pizza, Cooperstown Pizza and Grill, China Wok, Alex and Ika, Stagecoach Coffee, The Cooperstown Fire Department, Subway, and Doubleday Café.  To those who donated tothe Raffle: Alex & Ika, Creekside B&B, Bocca Osteria, Melissa Yao, Subway, Tracy Helgeson, Ashley Cooper, Baseball Hall of Fame, NYSHA, Glimmerglass Opera, Dr. Doug Gable, Price Chopper, Alyssa McGoldrick, Maryann Dietz, Rose McCabe, Mikal Sky- Shrewsbury, The Schuermann Family, Fly Creek Cider Mill, Eileen Anania, Raspberries Café of Utica, Cheryl Wright,  Annemarie Bascio, Jen Howard,The Holohan Family, The Clay Café, NYCM, Community Bank NA, Barnyard Swing, Dog Wild, Angel Network, Cooperstown Youth Baseball, Barnyard Swing, Ursula Hage, Cooperstown Art Association, Reid’s Barber Shop, and TinBinAlley.

Alicia Chase


Crayon Carnival

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