By GREG KLEIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN — The village Board of Trustees tabled a proposed law to charge license and site fees for village property and the use of village icons in commercial endeavors.
There were two public hearings on the docket Monday, July 26, but four of the five members of the public at the meeting at 22 Chestnut Street spoke against charging local artists who paint, photograph or otherwise use local Cooperstown icons, such as Doubleday Field or the Sandlot Kid statue, in their work. The speakers included two store owners who sell artwork, an artist and Cooperstown Art Association President Cheryl Wright.
Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh said she has heard from many people who agree about the need for location fees, but many more who are concerned about the licensing fees. Tillapaugh assured the speakers the trustees were not going to approve the local law Monday. “I think it needs more work,” Tillapaugh said.
The onlookers were long gone when the matter came up again, hours into the board’s 3.5-hour meeting.
As promised, there was no resolution to the matter. Tillapaugh recommended the proposal be sent back to the village’s committees — it had recently been discussed in the Economic Development and Sustainability Committee — and later offered to hold a stand-alone trustee meeting to discuss the matter at length.
Ultimately, the group opted for the latter, with Tillapaugh saying she would schedule it as a board workshop.
The matter had been proposed as a local law two months ago, but it got pushback from village partners who help market Cooperstown. The follow-up from the artistic community reinforced Tillapaugh’s belief that there is more work to be done, she said.
Tillapaugh said the groups looking at the issue seemed certain they wanted to charge a location fee for entertainment-industry rentals, but the licensing fees are harder to define correctly.
Editor Greg Klein spoke at the EDSC committee meeting July 13, as part of his job as the local film commissioner, in favor of location fees and permits for entertainment-industry shoots. He told committee members they needed to find a way to do it without harming village partners. He also said they needed to think about the effect on individual artists and if individuals were the intended target of the law.