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July 3, 2013

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(Continued)

But local shoppers can continue to shop without feeding the parking meters. All anyone — and that means anyone, not just local residents — has to do is purchase a permit for $25 at the Village Office and that entitles them to park anywhere they can find a spot and there is no extra charge. The permit can be used as often as desired for the time that the pay and display meters are in operation from Memorial Day in May, through Labor Day in September. From 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. there is free parking. Handicapped accessible spaces and 15 minute spaces are exempt from paid parking. Please, everyone, read that again, so that you are familiar with the rules and do not continue to promulgate false information.

I believe the disgruntled merchants are defeating their own purpose by being so negative and passing these disgruntled, negative feelings on to their customers. They are encouraging them not to use paid parking and so they are actually losing them as customers. Wouldn’t it be better if they educated themselves and their customers on the benefits of paid parking to everyone?

Mayor Jeff Katz and the village board’s Finance Committee issued a 10-point explanation of financial forces behind the decision to implement paid parking on parts of Main and Pioneer streets. This was published in the June 20 issue of the Freeman’s Journal. I urge everyone to read this. It addresses all the statements and questions that have been put out by critics of paid parking. Some of whom have been very nasty. People may disagree about an issue, but it should be done with civility.

Have the merchants thought that the decline in business may be caused by other factors, which are affecting the whole country? The economy, for instance. What about the ripple effect of the terrible storms and tornadoes that decimated so many places and left people without the money to spend on non-essentials, and so they are not traveling to Cooperstown and other vacation places, and the fact that many schools are still not out for the summer as they had to be in session later because of the days missed because of the weather? The New York Times recently printed an article about business at Barns and Noble being down 50 percent because so many people have Kindles and Nooks and are not purchasing as many books. And their sales of Nooks, which they manufacture, is not doing as well as the Kindle, which is manufactured by Amazon. So it is not just Cooperstown feeling the crunch. There are many reasons why business may not be “as usual”.

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