It seems we are heading full tilt into the summer season. And it is even possible that the weather is inclined to follow suit. And while we would not classify the weather this June to be the worst Cooperstown June weather we have encountered, it also was not the best. But we are hopeful that going forward it will be conducive to a number of upcoming events.
It has come to our attention that the Fourth of July offers a number of activities in which people may participate. There is the annual parade in Springfield Center on July 4, the annual Presbyterian Church Ice Cream Social on July 5 and the annual fireworks on July 6 along with a parade to celebrate, we understand, the 200th anniversary of the Cooperstown Fire Department. It sounds like a busy time.
Of course, we have long thought that it is the Ice Cream Social that highlights the beginning of the summer season each year. This year it will be held on Friday, July 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. on the church lawn in good weather and on the porches and in the chapel should the weather prove inclement. At the social there will be hot dogs and hamburgers with a choice of sides, lemonade, coffee and, of course, ice cream and homemade cake. Additionally, handicrafts, baked goods and white elephant items as well as plants will be offered for sale. There will also be games and other activities for the children. It is, we think, an excellent way in which to celebrate the start of the summer season. And it is even better this year as it seems to be tucked rather nicely in between two Fourth of July celebrations.
We also need to note that later in July the next meeting of the Literary Discussion Group, sponsored by the Women’s Club of Cooperstown, will be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25. The group has been invited to hold this meeting, as well as its August meeting, at Woodside Hall at 1 Main St. in Cooperstown. The book for discussion at the July meeting is “A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage” by Marly Yeomans. The discussion of the book will be lead by Daphne Mason who has invited the author, a resident of Cooperstown, to attend. The meeting is open to the public and those attending should enter through the southern entrance that leads directly into the dining area of Woodside Hall.
And while we are trying to focus on upcoming events in our community, we are still immersed in discussions about issues that are affecting the community. In fact, it almost seems that every day we are presented with a new twist on an old issue or a question about a new issue. We are finding it hard to keep up. Nonetheless, we have decided that talking with others has given us some new perspectives that we had not considered.
For example, we were reminded that restaurants here have to do enough business in the summer to carry them through the winter. And if they are unable to do that, they will not be able to stay open all winter, which will mean their employees will be laid off, forcing them to go on unemployment. This, of course, would not be good for the economy or for those of us who stay here in the winter and might like to eat out. So we find the reports that business at local restaurants does not seem to be what it normally is this time of year, as many of the local customers do not seem to be eating out, to be somewhat disturbing. Of course, since it is still early in the season, it is difficult to tell what the final outcome will be. But we certainly hope that a result of the village instituting paid on street parking does not result in a loss of jobs down the road. That would indeed be a very unfortunate unintended consequence of paid parking.
We have also had a discussion about the fact that at no time has mention been made of reducing village spending. Of course, reducing spending is rarely a popular undertaking. However, we do have to wonder about some of the village expenses, such as the cost for its public library. It is our understanding that at least as many library cards are issued to non-village residents as there are cards issued to village resident yet the village pays $88,000 plus free rent and utilities for its operation while the town of Otsego pays $10,000 and the town of Middlefield pays $3,000. Attempts have been made over the years now to get the towns to donate more as so many of their residents use the library on a regular basis. However, there still does not seem to be much balance when it comes to support for the library.
So it might well be time for the village to announce it will no longer fund the library as it is time for the towns to take on that task as other towns, such as Hartwick, already do for their libraries. Besides, village residents would still contribute to the library through their town taxes. And surely the village could put that $88,000 savings toward the streets about which we suspect those people coming into the village to use the library complain bitterly.
Likewise, we can’t help but wonder if it is time for the village to fully investigate shared services with other municipalities. This is something the school district already does and would seem to make sense for the village as well. We well realize there are no easy answers. But we also suspect the problems with the village finances will not be solved by simply trying to continually raise more and more revenue that may or may not be helpful to the big picture in the long run.
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