LETTER from ELLEN TILLAPAUGH KUCH
To the Editor:
Since 2011, I have been honored to serve my hometown community in village government. First elected as a trustee in 2011, I was appointed deputy mayor in 2014 and served in that capacity until my election as mayor in 2018.
Over the past nine years, I along with fellow elected officials have worked to stabilize the village’s finances. We are proud that for seven budget years, since our 2013-14 budget, there has been no increase in the tax levy. It has remained at $1,779,194 and represents a tax rate of $5.21 per $1000 of assessed value. The current budget is on the Village’s website (cooperstownny.org) under “Government” and the “Board of Trustee Meetings” drop down menu. The tentative budget for 2020-21 was completed this month, and again proposes no increase in the tax levy.
At the same time, by developing new revenue sources and successfully securing grant funding, the Village Board has been able to undertake significant and long overdue infrastructure improvements in our community.
• The $1.2 million Pioneer Street project completed in 2018, replaced sewer & water lines, street pavement and curbing on Pioneer, from Otsego Lake to Elm Street.
• The $9.1 million Waste Water Treatment Plant upgrade began in September 2019, and is scheduled for completion in December 2020. Funded by grants and Environmental Facilities Corp low interest financing, there will be no increase in water/sewer rates for Village residents. This replacement of the original 1969 facility (originally designed to serve for 25 years) will meet village needs for decades.
• The $2.4 million Downtown Pedestrian Improvement Project (federal TEP grant) funds new Main Street sidewalks and provides for signage, street benches, tree plantings, decorative lamp posts and compacting trash receptacles. Begun in the fall of 2018, this project will conclude this spring with work at the Main-Chestnut intersection.
• Last fall, Pioneer Park was upgraded with the installation of ADA compliant brick pavers, a performance stage area, improved lighting and re-configured plant beds.
$5.8 million in improvements are underway at Doubleday Field. By May 15, the week prior to HOF Classic Weekend, two major phases of the project will be complete – the Main Street entrance/parking lot redesign and the 1939 Grandstand renovations. Work will continue on the new 3rd base bleachers and building.
We are pleased to have been awarded the Village’s first Community Development Block Grant, to support a local business, the Cooperstown Distillery, in expanding their operation. Additional grant funded projects to commence this spring involve the Willow Creek culvert, the Village Hall skylight, and Mill Street.
I am honored to serve as mayor and to devote time and leadership to our community. I would appreciate your continued support on March 18 in the Village Election.
ELLEN TILLAPAUGH KUCH
Village of Cooperstown