Some two dozen Cooperstown residents were almost evenly divided in comments during a public hearing Monday, December 6, to address a pending Board of Trustees vote that would find the Village opting out of allowing the retail sale of marijuana within Cooperstown’s borders.
New York legalized the sale of marijuana in April, and allowed local governments to choose whether they want dispensaries and lounges where customers could smoke on-site. To opt out, however, that same state law requires a local government to pass a local law no later than December 31, 2021. Failure to do so automatically opens the locality to dispensaries and lounges; those local governments that vote to opt out prior to the year-end deadline may repeal that local law through permissive referendum at a later date to allow for retail sale.
Editor’s Note: This is citizen Bill Waller’s recommendation in a March 29 letter to the Cooperstown Village Board on how to spend its expected share from the $1.9 trillion Biden Stimulus Plan.
Dear Mayor Tillapaugh and the Board of Trustees;
I read with interest statements relating to the benefits coming to Cooperstown from the recently enacted American Rescue Plan (ARP). According to press accounts, this could be nearly $350,000.
In reviewing the proposed 2021-2022 Village of Cooperstown Budget, I did not see any amount referencing the ARP disbursement. This is entirely understandable since the act has just passed, well after all the budget discussions held by the Board of Trustees.
As this is budget enactment time, I would like to express my opinion as to how these funds should be spent when they arrive.
…I would like to make a radical proposal: Give it back to the residents.
In this year’s proposed budget $1,779,194.00 is listed as the expected income from Village property taxes. I would urge adoption of the budget and then when the ARP funds are received, issuing a rebate check to our Village taxpayers. I would propose 10% of the taxes levied be sent back to every Village property owner as COVlD Relief. This would only cost $177,919.40.
While this may seem a radical proposal, I remind you that no one opposed the $600 and $1,400 checks mailed from the Federal Government. I feel that no matter how small an individual’s Village COVlD Relief may be, it will be well received. It would also be innovative, creative and will reward our Village residents for their endurance during the past year. And other than the massive error on the part of Otsego County Government resulting in 20% tax rebates a few years ago, when has a local municipality rewarded their residents by sending some of their money back?
ARP regulations stipulate that the funds cannot be used to reduce taxes, but they can be used to “offset the impact to households” caused by the pandemic. This would be a fair way to lessen the impact.
I know the Village Board could find many ways to spend the ARP money, giving some of it directly to residents would have a big impact.
Creative minds could even come up with a letter accompanying the relief check noting worthwhile community projects very willing to accept the resident’s donated refund if they so choose.
I hope you will consider my proposals at this opportune time as part of your budget discussions.
… and this is Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch’s April 5 response:
Thank you for your letter of March 29 pertaining to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and your recommendations to the Village of Cooperstown on the use of the funds which we will receive.
…On March 23, Congressman Delgado held an information meeting concerning the ARP and provided more accurate funding information. He indicated the exact amount of ARP funds which the Village will receive is unclear at this time.
The U.S. Treasury will be determining the distribution of funds and will be providing that guidance to New York State, which will receive the funds for townships and Villages. The state will dispense them to the respective township which will in turn remit them to Villages. Our share will be based on our population percentage within the township.
One half of the funds will be provided this year and one half 12 months after the legislation is signed. General estimates at this time indicate we may receive approximately $120,000 within the next several months and a similar sum next year.
In budget year 2020-21, the Village of Cooperstown had an $800,000 decrease in revenues – from paid parking, sales tax, chips, and Doubleday Field rentals.
In reviewing the proposed 2021-22 VOC Budget, hopefully you realized that the Village Board did indeed fund an additional full-time police officer. We made this public safety commitment to our community, even though the funds we ultimately will receive from the ARP are only a fraction of the lost revenues due to the pandemic.
As for returning funds to taxpayers, the Village has not increased the property tax levy of $1,779,194 since 2013. Eight years of no increase in the tax levy is our support of Village property owners.
Editor’s Note: Cooperstown’s Bill Waller, whose son Scott played for CCS, took Scott’s daughter – and aspiring soccer player – Kira to see World Cup play in France.
By BILL WALLER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
LYON, France – “USA, USA, USA.”
Over 30,000, more than half of an enormous new Lyon, France Olympic soccer stadium’s crowd are screaming their support for the U.S. Women’s soccer team. Flags waving everywhere, chants of “USA, USA” drowning out the soccer songs of the orange-clad Dutch fans; this was Lyon and the scene at the finals for the 2019 Woman’s World Cup.
This final game pitting the European Champion Netherland against the three time world champion American women would decide the 2019 World Cup.
While heavily favored, the U.S. women ran into a tough Dutch squad, ending the half with the score 0-0. My granddaughter Kira and I were glued to our seats hoping for a U.S. score.
We went to Lyon to be part of the Women’s World Cup effort and had seen the U.S. beat England and a tough Dutch team win over the taller and “blonder” Swedish squad.
Editor’s Note: Bill Waller of Cooperstown sent this letter Monday, April 22, to Kevin Hourican, president, CVS, in Woonsocket, R.I., about the two-year vacancy of the company’s downtown Cooperstown store.
Dear Mr. Hourican,
I am writing to inform you of a situation with one of your properties located in Cooperstown, New York. You recently constructed a new CVS store in our Village and vacated your former location on our Main Street. It is my understanding that you are continuing with your lease on this abandoned property through September, 2019.
While we have welcomed you into our community and admire and support your new location, your former store has become an eyesore right on our quaint Main Street. Our Main Street has recently undergone a massive renovation, adding pavers, rain gardens and new foliage; all to complement the small town atmosphere for which Cooperstown is world famous.
And the world will be here in force this July and throughout the summer to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and attend the annual Induction Ceremony, this year starring the only unanimously elected inductee, Mariano Rivera. While our average Induction Weekend attendance is always in the tens of thousands, this year we are predicting record-setting visitors. Our previous one-day record was about 82,000.
In addition, we have families attending our summer-long Little League-age weekly baseball tournaments at the Cooperstown Dreams Park. That venue brings about 100 Little League teams and their families each week to watch their children play baseball.
There are also other weekly baseball tournament venues in the area that, all totaled, including the world renowned Glimmerglass
Opera Festival, The Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum bring almost 1 million people to our streets.
As the attached photos show, your former store, well-known as “the old CVS store” is an eyesore right in the center of our Main Street business district. With the interior lights constantly on, passersby are treated to the interior of an abandoned store. Last summer you allowed the Glimmerglass Opera use the building for scenery construction, but the windows and frontage remain as seen today.
Editor’s Note: This feature story first appeared in the AllOTSEGO.life section of Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal published last Thursday and Friday. This year’s 52nd annual carnival ends this evening.
By LIBBY CUDMORE • For AllOTSEGO.life
COOPERSTOWN – If you looked out and saw cars out on Otsego Lake today, you would probably call a tow truck.
But in 1974, when Bill Waller was Cooperstown Winter Carnival chairman, it was all part of the fun.
“We had all sorts of events on the lake – Just as long as the ice was 18-inches thick,” he said.
Back then, chief among the favorite activities was the annual gymkhana, where cars would race through cones across Otsego Lake’s ice.
“When we came up for the first Winter Carnival in 1969, I saw all these cars out on the ice,” said Waller. “I took my car out, but I had the wrong tires on, so I didn’t do very well.
MEETING – 7-8 p.m. Long-time Cooperstown resident Bill Waller discusses his many careers, including clinical engineer, teacher, florist, politician, and author. Cooperstown Village Library. Call 607-547-8344 Visit www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/
POETRY SLAM – 8-10 p.m. Duo No-Holds-Bar Faculty Poetry Slam. All Poetry Slam rules are off except for the time limit and original composition. Hunt College Union, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/1654968