Residents Divided: Should Jefferson County Increase Funding for Zoo New York?

Residents Divided: Should Jefferson County Increase Funding for Zoo New York?

County's Response to Zoo Funding

Recently, an important question has been raised in Jefferson County: Should the county provide more funding to support Zoo New York? A survey conducted by the Center for Community Studies at Jefferson Community College sheds light on the opinions of county residents.

Out of the 15 legislators who were approached, 12 responded. Surprisingly, 11 of them expressed their disagreement with providing more county money to the zoo. Each legislator had their reasons for taking this stance.

One common concern among legislators is the possibility of raising taxes for the benefit of the zoo. Many believe that increasing tax burdens on county residents is not the ideal solution to support the zoo's financial needs.

Another criticism voiced by legislators is that the zoo lacks a satisfactory business plan. They argue that without a well-structured strategy in place, allocating additional county money to the zoo would not be a wise decision.

Interestingly, some legislators are adopting a wait-and-see approach. They prefer to observe the actions of the city and a recently established zoo task force before making a decision on additional funding.

It is important to note that the zoo itself has yet to request additional funding from the county. The ball is currently in the court of the legislators.

Nevertheless, a recent survey conducted by the Center for Community Studies reveals that a significant majority of Jefferson County residents are in favor of keeping Watertown's zoo open with increased government support. Ninety percent of respondents expressed this preference.

Furthermore, when asked if the county should contribute more to the zoo's operating costs, 78 percent of survey participants answered affirmatively. This suggests that a substantial portion of the community believes it is appropriate for the county to provide additional financial assistance.

In terms of funding mechanisms, the survey indicated that 57 percent of respondents would support paying an extra $15 per $100,000 of assessed value on their annual property taxes. Moreover, 66 percent of those surveyed expressed support for increasing the county bed tax rate paid by hotel and motel guests.

Given the mixed opinions of legislators and the strong public sentiment revealed by the survey, the issue of funding the zoo remains a topic of contention in Jefferson County. It will be interesting to see how this debate unfolds and whether the county will ultimately choose to provide increased support for Zoo New York.

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