February 16, 2011


Picnic in park idea prompts OT, alcohol concerns

Business owners planning May 7 event in Beaudry Park for SUNY Cortland alumni

Staff Reporter

The Cortland Common Council raised concerns Tuesday over alcoholic beverages and police overtime at a proposed spring picnic and concert in Beaudry Park, but agreed to reserve the May 7 date.
Dark Horse Tavern owner George Seibel spoke on behalf of a group of local business owners who have begun to organize the event, which does not yet have a name.
Seibel said he still was not sure which part of the park would be used for the concert or for the alcohol sales, and was not sure how many people the event would bring in.
Alderman Stephanie Hayes (D-2nd Ward) said she was concerned with the amount of unknowns in the plan.
Seibel said the event, which is aimed at SUNY Cortland alumnus, would help bring more business downtown, and the location at Beaudry Park is within walking distance to both the college and the downtown businesses.
Seibel also said he would like to block off parking at the park. The businesses would provide buses from downtown.
The council expressed concern as to where the money would come for the police at the event, and worried that the taxpayers would be footing the bill.
Alderman Tom Michales (R-8th Ward) said he talked to Cortland Police Chief F. Michael Catalano, who estimated the Monroe Fest — a SUNY Cortland students’ spring party day on Monroe Heights that has grown to replace the old block parties — cost taxpayers about $8,000 in police overtime.
Seibel said he would be willing to get their own security, if necessary.
Among other business Tuesday night:
- The council unanimously agreed to contribute $1,700 to the Cortland Downtown Partnership to help fund a study to identify historic properties throughout the city.
The Historic Cortland Reconnaissance Survey will cost $8,200, but will mostly be funded by a $6,500 grant from the New York State Preservation League.
The study, to be performed by consultant Nancy Goblet, will identify historic properties and make it easier for them to apply for federal and state tax incentives. Downtown Partnership Director Adam Megivern said the only reason he asked the council for the money was because the study will take a citywide approach.
Mayor Susan Feiszli said the money would either come from contingency or from the celebration account, and she would work that out with Lori Crompton, the deputy director of administration and finance.
- Alderman Ken Dye (D-3rd Ward) was named the acting mayor starting on Friday in Feiszli’s absence. He will be acting mayor until she returns Feb. 26.
- The council agreed to hold a workshop on Feb. 24 to continue to work on the corrective action plan in response to the audit by the state comptroller.
The council has been meeting in small groups to assemble a framework for the plan, and will hold another to finish the third part of the report dealing with the city’s information technology problems. The date was not announced.
The comptroller’s report claimed the council does not have up-to-date, reliable information, and its budgets are not based on historical trends. It also said the council did not exercise enough oversight on various aspects of the city’s operation.
The report recommended changes to the city’s internal controls, including centralizing the payroll, working with the county to share financial management computer software, and better oversight of employees’ leave and health insurance payments.
- The council unanimously approved six appointments to various city boards and commissions.
Corporation Counsel Patrick Perfetti and Rob Avery, the director of buildings and grounds, were appointed to the Ethics Committee.
Joseph McMahon was reappointed to the Planning Commission, Rafael Felix was added to the Wellhead Aquifer Protection Committee, Elizabeth Leiber was added to the Youth Bureau Board, and Marianne Bertini was selected to fill out the unexpired term of Joe Quinlan on the Board of Assessment Review.
- The council unanimously voted to allow the Cultural Council of Cortland County to use the city’s portion of Court House Park for the Cortland Arts & Wine Festival on Aug. 6.



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