Katz: Allstadt, Tillapaugh ‘Incredible’ Trustees
To the Editor:
The Village of Cooperstown is incredibly fortunate to have Ellen Tillapaugh and Lou Allstadt run for re-election. They are two of the finest trustees to have ever served the village. Their dedication, intelligence, open-mindedness and knowledge of village government and issues have resulted in profoundly positive results.
To have someone of Lou’s corporate experience and talent serve the village is almost hard to believe. On the Finance & Personnel Committee, his ability to analyze our organization has resulted in a more streamlined, less costly government. As chair of the Buildings Committee and member of the Streets Committee, his management and oversight skills have improved how the village works on many issues, but no more so than in the commitment to fixing Village Hall at 22 Main St. On the Economic Development & Sustainability Committee, Lou’s leadership in energy efficiency and new ways of approaching our traditional ways of doing things has resulted in huge savings to the village, as well as a fresh and positive reputation for Cooperstown that has garnered national attention.
For decades before she was elected as trustee in 2011, Ellen Tillapaugh was the epitome of community service. She was the second female president of the Cooperstown Rotary Club and involved in more community activities than I can list here. As a trustee and deputy mayor (beginning in 2013), Ellen has brought invaluable insight to all of her roles, especially as chair of Finance and Personnel, Parks and Public Safety. Her knowledge of the village, where we’ve been and where we need to go, has been a major reason why, since her election, the village has moved forward in such positive ways.
It is undeniable that the Village of Cooperstown’s budget has never been healthier, that more work is being done at a quicker pace, that we are being awarded more grants and that an incredible amount of constructive change has occurred. The village is in a much better place now financially and with its infrastructure because the Board of Trustees is productive, creating a more efficient, less costly government. None of this would have happened without Lou Allstadt and Ellen Tillapaugh. Please vote for them on Election Day.
Village of Cooperstown
Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz, a Chicago Cubs fan from his days at the Mercantile Exchange, sends greetings from Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, where his beloved Cubbies are facing the Indians this evening in the World Series. If the Cubs win, it will be their first championship since 1908. In addition to serving as mayor, Katz is a published baseball writer with two books to his credit and an aficionado of America’s Pastime.
COOPERSTOWN – Villagers whose heads may still be spinning over on-street parking, P&D machines and downtown parking permits, now have another concept around which to wrap their brains.
Residential parking permits.
The Village Board has scheduled a “workshop meeting” for 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20. Mayor Jeff Katz anticipates a free-floating discussion to see if there is any consensus on the matter. The public is welcome, but no public comment.
HALL OF FAME WEEKEND 2015
By JIM KEVLIN • for allotsego.com
COOPERSTOWN – Jeff Katz, the first mayor in a while who is both a fan of Cooperstown and of baseball, spent his first few years in Brooklyn, where it was all about the Mets. “In 1969, when they won the World Series, I was 7. It was huge,” he remembers.
He adored Tom Seaver, who led their team to the pinnacle. “When they traded him in 1977, I was heartbroken,” said Katz. “I realized I loved Tom Seaver much more than I did the Mets. That broke the spell of rooting for a team.
“I became very much on the side of the players – because of Seaver. People tend to blame everybody equally” – the players, the owners. “That’s not exactly true when you get into the weeds.”
That sympathy informs “Split Season: 1981: Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball,” published in May. Kirkus called it a “delightful, opinionated history… Katz brilliantly describes the bitter, fruitless, yearlong negotiations aimed at determining a team’s compensation for the loss of a free agent player.”
FOR FULL STORY, READ THIS WEEK’S EDITIONS
OF THE FREEMAN’S JOURNAL & HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Keith Olbermann To Interview Jeff Katz
COOPERSTOWN – Mayor Jeff Katz will be interviewed on his new book, “Split Season: 1981 Fernandomania, The Bronx Zoo and The Strike That Saved Baseball,” on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN2 show at 5 p.m. Monday.
Katz, whose book was published Tuesday, May 19, will be in ESPN’s studios in New York at 2:45 p.m. for a pre-taping of the interview.
So far, the mayor said, the book, his second, has been very well received. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel included it in its “100 Books To Read This Summer,” leading the five-book baseball category.
He is also due to appear June 6-7 in Chicago at the 31st annual Printer’s Row Lit Festival, the Midwest’s largest book fair.
Katz: Our Own Rick Hulse
Derailed Tourism Assistance
Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 11-12, 2014
To the Editor:
In the county budget vote of Wednesday, Dec. 3, a bipartisan group of Ed Lentz, Beth Rosenthal, Gary Koutnik, Linda Rowinski, Kay Stuligross, Craig Gelbsman and Janet Quackenbush voted to return $150,000 in bed tax revenues to the municipalities that generate it.
They recognized, unlike our own Town of Otsego/Village of Cooperstown representative Rick Hulse, that the town and city of Oneonta, Town of Hartwick and Village of Cooperstown bear a disproportionate burden of tourism costs. At the same time, those townships and municipalities account for 78.2 percent of the $1.4 million of the bed-tax revenue paid to Otsego County. Representative Hulse is the first county representative since I’ve worked to procure bed-tax money for Cooperstown who has publicly rejected us. Nancy Iversen, James Johnson, John Kosmer, Sam Dubben and Beth Rosenthal, Republicans and Democrats, have all stood with us and supported our needs.
As mayor of Cooperstown, I applaud those representatives who voted for redistribution of a portion of the bed tax. The village does not, and cannot, run simply as a small village of less than 2,000 residents.
As host to hundreds of thousands of visitors who flock to Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame, Fenimore Art Museum, Farmers’ Museum and the Glimmerglass Festival (as well as Cooperstown Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary and Cooperstown All-Star Village in Oneonta), the village has to provide a level of infrastructure and services that go far beyond our own residents’ needs.
While the county happily collects sales and bed tax money that we provide, it returns nothing to us in roads, public safety and other services that we handle on our own through a full-time police force, streets department, water and sewer plants and so on. Cooperstown would welcome financial support of any kind and, had Representative Hulse voted yes, we would have gotten funds. His vote was the deciding one.
In the last few years, much talk has revolved around economic development for Otsego County and bolstering the infrastructure of those activities that draw people to the county. Tourism was clearly identified as one of our strengths and potential growth areas.
Ideally, the county would pursue an increase in the bed tax, in line with counties like Monroe, Albany and Onondaga, and redistribute that additional money directly back to the municipalities that generate it for their infrastructure needs.
Until that is accomplished, short-term help through a return of some bed tax to the municipalities that create it is the right thing to do.
I hope Rick Hulse succeeds in his publicly stated goal to create a process-driven, sustainable, long-term bed-tax-distribution plan. However, he could have easily voted for a short-term return of bed tax money to his district, while still pursuing a long-term plan. The two are not mutually exclusive. He said he supported bed tax for Cooperstown, but voted against it.
One doesn’t deserve credit for saying yes when voting no.
Village of Cooperstown
Hospital, Community Leaders
Must Confer On Bassett’s Future
Editorial For the Edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 11-12, 2014
The future of hospitals is murky, certainly to the general public (and general newspapers), perhaps even to the experts at One Atwell Road, Cooperstown, who are paid to think about it and react to their best estimations. We may reach a point where hospitals struggle to find enough talented doctors capable of doing the most skilled work. However, as long as there are professional recruiting services such as avidian in the medical industry, there should be a sufficient number of talented doctors at our hospitals
It doesn’t take a fevered imagination, however, to conclude that Bassett Hospital and its presence in Otsego County – Oneonta’s Fox included – won’t be the same 10 years from now as it is today.
Earlier this year, an e-mail from Dr. Vance Brown, Bassett’s new president/CEO, suggested it might make sense to shift pediatrics and some other specialties from Cooperstown to Oneonta. Then, earlier this month, the hospital announced it is moving 40 tech-support jobs into a downtown Utica office building, and plans to shift 125 in all over the next five years.
That’s the equivalent of a 125-job plant closing.
Bassett has been saying its strategic plan is seven years old, largely not implemented because of the impact it would have had on its Cooperstown neighborhood. And a new one is not yet ready.
The lack of such a plan, it seems, isn’t preventing action.
At the end of September, Bassett’s Cooperstown neighbors filled the Village Board meeting with bodies and strong objections to a proposed “hospital zone,” fearful such a designation would simplify approval of any hospital projects.
In particular, fears were voiced that a “dormitory” is planned for the 20 students here part of the year through the Bassett-Columbia Presbyterian medical school, which aims to train physicians interested in practicing in rural settings.
A few weeks later, Jane Forbes Clark, who chairs the Bassett trustees’ facilities committee, Dr. Brown, and Jonathan Flyte, vice president/facilities planning, convened a meeting in the hospital’s Clark Auditorium to hear neighbors’ concerns, and such sensible, doable ideas as replacing gasoline-run shuttle buses with quieter, cleaner electric ones were discussed. The neighbors were praiseful.
Such positive outreach should be welcomed by all. But the concerns of neighbors – a couple of dozen households, compared to 24,000 countywide – shouldn’t stifle the larger question:
Are Cooperstown and Otsego County doing enough to create optimum circumstances wherein a Bassett system, headquartered locally, can continue to thrive?
(While we’re at it, whatever housing situation is optimum for med students, who may practice here after graduation, is what they should get.)
The Village of Cooperstown spent 18 months studying what became the controversial “hospital zone” proposal, but officials involved say they have little idea of Bassett’s vision for the future. That’s getting the horse-drawn ambulance before the horse.
In explaining the Utica initiative, it was noted that the new location would allow collaboration with local colleges – SUNY/IT, Utica College and USC, presumably – to ensure Bassett can hire the needed tech-support personnel. We have a SUNY campus, Hartwick College and a USC branch. Why didn’t those conversations happen here?
And parking! Frequently, patients can’t find it around the Cooperstown hospital. And 200 spaces for employee parking were recently moved from behind the Clark Sports Center, where an expansion is planned, to Gary Enck’s former Corvette dealership in Hartwick Seminary; for nurses and technicians commuting from Schoharie or Ilion, that adds 20 minutes at each day’s beginning and end. If parking can’t work for patients or staff, something’s got to give. Please, build a deck.
The late Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller, who, among other things, had served on a hospital board in the Rochester area, believed the successful healthcare system of the future will need to serve a population of 1.2 million. Bassett’s eight counties comprise about half that. And there’s the more populous Mohawk Valley, waiting, waiting.
This is clear: Bassett, the county’s largest employer, its convenient and well-regarded healthcare services are among the county’s signature assets, is exploring options beyond Cooperstown and Otsego County.
Perhaps it should. Perhaps it must. But we should expect our community leaders, in Cooperstown, Oneonta and Otsego County, to be fully up to speed on the pressures Bassett is facing, and doing what they can – whatever they can – to ensure the healthcare system’s presence here is as robust as possible for as long as possible.
Mayor Katz, Mayor Southard, county board Chair Kathy Clark – find out how we can achieve that. Dr. Brown, bring the community into this critical conversation.
At this point, let’s not ask what Bassett can do for us, but what we can do for Bassett.
County Bed-Tax Windfall Should Be Everybody’s Windfall
Editorial for the edition of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 4-5, 2014
There seems to be a consensus emerging on one thing: Otsego County’s government, which benefits to the tune of $1.4 million a year in bed-tax revenues, should share some of that with communities that host the bulk of the 500,000 people who visit here each summer.
Those communities are the city and town of Oneonta, which together generate 30 percent of bed-tax revenues, the Town of Hartwick (25 percent) and the Village of Cooperstown (23 percent).
The disagreement is over how and how much.
By the time you read this, the question will be settled for the 2015 budget year. The county Board of Representatives was scheduled to vote Wednesday morning, Dec. 3, on its 2015 spending plan.
There may have been fireworks: County Rep. Ed Lentz, D-New Lisbon, planned to make a motion to allocate $150,000 in tourism-impact aid — it’s only 10.7 percent – to localities, and wasn’t sure how the vote would go. Check www.allotsego.com.
Regardless, everybody at the Monday, Dec. 1, hearing on the budget seemed to be saying some bed-tax revenue should be distributed.
As you might expect – this has been a longtime issue with him – Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz asked for funding ($50,000). “The money’s there, now,” said Katz, noting that, with Otsego Manor’s sale, the county board intended to reduce the tax levy by $170,000. The very few dollars that return to individual taxpayers make it no more than a symbolic gesture, while there’s real work to be done.
The mayor was quite pointed in noting that county Rep. Rick Hulse, R-Fly Creek, is the first rep in recent memory who has not supported impact aid for Cooperstown. Democrat John Kosmer did so, and so did Republican Jim Johnson.
But both Hulse and county board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego, agreed there should be tourism-impact aid, but opposed a no-strings-attached giveaway. Their idea is to set aside an annual allocation – similar to the $35,000 in bed-tax money used for in-county events promotion – for tourism-related projects.
When deliberations on the 2016 budget begin late next summer, “people should come to the board with specific projects,” said Clark. The county reps can then assess the merits of each idea and support the ones they like best.
At the mention of $35,000, Katz called that “absurd.” And a few thousand dollars could accomplish very little. Plus, he said, the village’s commitment for the next 2-3 years is completing renovation of downtown sidewalk on Pioneer as well as Main; that’s where any money would be going.
Still, it’s encouraging to find that there is agreement on the concept: Taxpayers in Oneonta, Hartwick and Cooperstown, which bear the brunt of the costs of serving tourists, should get some help in doing so.
Asking the municipalities to make specific requests is sensible, too. Tourism-impact money should be used for true tourism impacts, not just diverted to local tax relief. Preferably, it should be used for projects that will encourage tourism and, therefore, more bed-tax revenues. That turns an expenditure into an investment.
The quick-witted mayor countered, “You don’t get to say yes by saying no,” and he’s got a point. Still, the county board, like any public body, has a responsibility to ensure its money is well-spent.
More to the point is, how much? The $150,000 Lentz is proposing seems like enough to accomplish fairly major undertakings. But the amount can be argued and agreed upon – and, then, if advisable, adjusted.
The point is that the bed-tax windfall is everybody’s windfall, and should be used to the benefit of all.
Bassett To Shift 40 Jobs To Downtown Utica
By JIM KEVLIN • The Freeman’s Journal
Edition of Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014
Bassett Healthcare has located a five-story building in downtown Utica, and plans to move 40 “non-treatment” tech-support positions there from Cooperstown in the next year. That may expand to 125 over the next five years, according to Bassett’s spokesperson.
The 50,000-square-foot M&T Bank annex was part of a complex that includes the landmark “Gold Dome” building, but that’s not part of the real-estate Bassett obtained, according to spokesperson Karen Huxtable.
The decision on the building was announced in recent days and heralded by Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, who said, “This is another exciting day for the City of Utica. Having reputable regional companies like Bassett wanting to grow and expand in Utica speaks volumes of how far the City of Utica has come over the past three years.”
“The mayor agreed to give us 125 parking spaces, which was important,” said Huxtable.
Huxtable said the mayor dedicated 125 parking spaces in the vicinity for use by Bassett employees.
If Palmieri was elated, Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz was pensive. “I would like Bassett to remain focused on Cooperstown,” he said. “The absence of Bassett would be a crushing blow to the village.”
“That’s ‘the game,’” he said of the news. “Any other place is going to welcome it. Some people in Cooperstown will say, ‘Fine, let them go.’ That’s not a good vision for the future.”
This is Bassett’s first foray into Utica, although it has a clinic in Clinton, which is also in Oneida County, and it had been negotiation an affiliation with Rome General Hospital, on the other side of the city, but the negotiations fell apart earlier this year.
According to the official announcement, Bassett had been looking at office space in Utica for the past year. Huxtable said six sites were considered before this one was chosen. A Utica location, she said, is as convenient as Cooperstown for many of Bassett’s employees who live in northern Otsego County and the Mohawk Valley.
The location will also allow Bassett to develop connections with SUNY/IT in Marcy and Utica College to help fill the healthcare system’s hiring needs, Huxtable said.
Bassett’s new president/CEO, Vance Brown, called the new location part of “an exciting partnership” with the City of Utica. “We’re very appreciative of the support of Mayor Palmieri and his team.”
WORK UNDERWAY TO UPDATE
COOPERSTOWN’S MASTER PLAN
People To Be Surveyed Saturday At Farmers’ Market, Pioneer Park
COOPERSTOWN – The Saratoga Springs consultant hired to develop a downtown revitalization and economic development strategy will be collecting data this Saturday from residents and visitors at The Cooperstown Farmers’ Market and in Pioneer Park.
Elan Planning, Design & Landscape Architecture by the village and the county Industrial Development Agency to help solicit community input in the development of an updated Comprehensive Master Plan.
In an interview in June, Mayor Jeff Katz and IDA President Sandy Mathes outline nine “nodes” in and around Cooperstown’s downtown that are possibilities for development. Mathes said the planning process will also develop the market data he needs to identify what kinds of projects will work and to attract investors to help develop them.
Who’s Who Among Local Democrats
At Opening Of Sean Eldridge’s Office
Cooperstown Wins Lake Citizen Award