COOPERSTOWN _ Cooperstown Mayor Carol Waller's long-standing effort to extract a significant amount of money from Otsego County succeeded Wednesday when the Board of Representatives unanimously approved a $100,000 package.
Waller, who is in her seventh year as mayor, has been to several county committee and board meetings, arguing that Cooperstown, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, deserves a share of the county's occupancy tax.
Because the village helps generate millions of dollars in sales tax and occupancy tax and bears the brunt of catering to hundreds of thousands of visitors, it is only fair that the village receive money to keep its infrastructure in repair, she has held.
Last year, at the urging of former Rep. Nancy Iversen, D-Otsego, county officials conceded the point, but because of a budgeting error, they were unable to provide any money.
This year, under the direction of the county's Intergovernmental Affairs Committee,
chaired by Rep. James Johnson, R-Otsego, the board resolved to give the village ``$50,000 ... to offset road and sidewalk maintenance work and similar infrastructure improvements.''
By the terms of this resolution, Cooperstown also may apply this year ``for an additional $50,000 on a project-related basis for the same categories of expenses.''
Before the measure came to a vote, Rep. Richard Murphy, D-Oneonta, said he had consulted with county Treasurer Myrna Thayne and learned that Cooperstown generated nearly 60 percent of the county's occupancy tax last year.
Murphy noted that the city and town of Oneonta generated just more than 30 percent of the bed tax. Oneonta also needs help with infrastructure, he said, calling for his peers to continue with ``an equitable distribution of the bed tax.''
Rep. Cathy Rothenberger, D-Oneonta, said that Cooperstown is ``the draw of the county, and I think we should keep Cooperstown looking as good as it does.''
The board agreed with her.
After the vote, Waller thanked representatives.
``We will spend the money wisely,'' she said.
Outside the meeting, Cooperstown's Deputy Mayor Jeff Katz said village officials are ``thrilled with the support.
``Last year, when some entity had to oversee off-site parking for the Hall of Fame induction, county board members came through, and now they've done it again. I think it's great.''
Waller and Katz said the money will be used to defray property taxes paid by village property owners.
Last year, the county collected about $700,000 in bed tax, based on a 2 percent tariff on overnight accommodations. Since Jan. 1, the rate has been 4 percent, and Wednesday, Thayne said the county will likely collection more than $1 million in 2008.