News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.



April Jobless Claims In Otsego County Were 18.2 Greater Than In ’19


April Jobless Claims

In Otsego County Were

18.2 Greater Than In ’19

The NYSAC report sent to New York State’s counties this week said initial unemployment claims in Otsego County were 18.2 times greater this April than in April 2019.

Initial claims rose from 126 in April 2019 to 2,296 this month, an increase of 2,170 claims, according to the state Association of Counties.

2nd May Meeting Planned To Decide Extent Of Layoffs


2nd May Meeting

Planned To Decide

Extent Of Layoffs

NYSAC Expected We’ll Lose

Equivalent Of Twice Tax Levy

While briefing the county board today via Zoom, County Treasurer Allen Ruffles received an update from NYSAC: State cuts in revenue and reimbursements are expect to be double what was originally expected. 

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Today started with bad news for Otsego County’s 14 representatives and ended with worse.

When the county board’s May meeting convened at 10 a.m. via Zoom, the county reps thought they were struggling with an $11 million deficit from coronavirus-related cuts.  When it end, that had doubled to $22 million, double the county’s property tax levy.

To keep current levels of service, the property tax levy – and hence the tax rate – would have to be doubled.

The discussion was focusing on whether to freeze one promotion and two potential hires in the Department of Social Services when County Treasurer Allen Ruffles looked up from his cell phone.

“I just got the latest from NYSAC,” the state Association of Counties, he said.

It included a worst-case scenario, a 50 percent cut in sales and bed tax revenues, and reimbursements from the State of New York, amounting to $11 million.  “It could be even worse,” said Ruffles, quoting the new report.

Jobless Claims Soaring; Sales-Tax Dip Expected

Jobless Claims Soaring;

Sales-Tax Dip Expected

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

The state Association of Counties has found the coronavirus emergency will cost Otsego County millions in sales-tax revenues. (

ONEONTA – In an average week, Alan Sessions, CDO Workforce disability resource coordinator, might field 25 calls about unemployment insurance.

“In the last week, we’ve received 25 calls a day,” he said. “Sometimes the wait to talk with someone is an hour.”

The majority of the calls, he said, are waitstaff, kitchen help and retail workers suddenly jobless as Governor Cuomo ordered stores and restaurants closed in to facilitate “social distancing” and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s early still, but these are the businesses that were immediately affected,” he said.

Meg Kennedy First Otsego County Rep On NYSAC  Board

Meg Kennedy First

Otsego County Rep

On NYSAC  Board

Meg Kennedy

COOPERSTOWN – County Rep. Meg Kennedy is making history.

It surfaced at today’s county Board of Representative meeting that the second-term legislator has been invited and agreed to join the board of directors of NYSAC, the influential New York State Association of Counties.

What’s more, she is the first representative from Otsego County  ever to be so honored.

Association of County’s Executive Briefs County On Manager V. Exec

NYSAC Executive Briefs

County On Manager v. Exec

Stephen J. Acquario, New York Association of Counties’ executive director, briefs the Otsego County Board of Representatives on distinctions between the county-manager and county-executive forms of government during its September meeting on the 5th. The board will schedule a workshop with NYSAC to further discuss the benefits of each form. The county board’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee this year has been studying potential benefits of a stronger executive function. (From video by Parker Fish)
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