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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer

“About the water project ... and those rumors”

The following is one in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.

Our water project is well underway for Phase 1. As a recap, Phase 1 is replacement of over 18,000 feet of water lines and connecting services to homes and businesses on those lines. If your water main was not replaced, it is because the engineers, after intense study, testing and investigation, determined the line on your street is not an issue. Last week we went out to bid for Phase 2, replacement of the water treatment plant and cleaning/revamp of the water tower. Bids are due July 30th and will be opened that day to select the awardee.

Phase 2 will start before snowfall and the closing of cement plants. They may even have the shell up and be working inside all winter. The new treatment plant will include a state of the art, expandable system in case we add water lines, will incorporate our third well for better supply/pressure, and add a two-bay DPW garage to maintain the water system. Our current DPW building is a disaster where the toilets even freeze up in winter. The bays do not have insulation or heat and repairing equipment is nearly impossible in the winter. It was previously used as a salt shed, so rust is eating it away in some areas.

Also, in Phase 2 will be the cleaning of the water tower, which has about 18 inches of sludge in the bottom of it! Once this is removed, an agitator will be installed to protect the tower from freezing and from the settling of any contaminants, if they enter the system. If they do, they can be flushed out at the hydrants.

There are many rumors flying around that I would like to address. First, the water coming from the well is CLEAR and passes all Department of Health tests. The residue and sludge in the water is coming from the reaction of the chemicals we use against the old unlined iron pipes and poor integration of the chemicals into the system. It will take time to purge all the sludge from the lines, but once it is gone it will not return since all the lines are either new plastic or good lined iron pipes.

Next, restoration. I have had people tell me there is a rumor flying around that our village will be left a mess. This is simply not true. According to the contract and law, the construction company will repair all damaged areas of the streets, replace sidewalks they took out, fix the mouth of your driveway, and bring in topsoil and grass seed and anything else as needed. The contract requires they leave things equal to or better than they found it. Restoration will come at the end. If your property needs restoration, rest easy, it is coming. Each phase is done by different work crews and equipment. It doesn’t make sense to do restoration until we are fully ready for it. Please be patient.

There is another rumor that there is no timeline for the DOT Sidewalk Project. This too is false. In fact, they will start the sidewalk project this Friday, July 5th. The project will include bump-out parking to help canalize and slow traffic, multiple crosswalks, new pedestrian signage, and traffic calming techniques as designed by DOT and used throughout the state. The crosswalks will be ADA compliant, and the sidewalk will extend to the bus stop. The guard rail and culvert there will change to allow the installation of the sidewalk and safe pedestrian use.

The last rumor is that I am not running for mayor again. This is in fact TRUE. The past six years have been exhausting with all the projects I have been managing single handedly. We have our own hiking trail connected to the village, sewers on Main Street that have saved many buildings from future condemnation when their septic systems would have eventually failed, the water project, replacement of Cotton Hanlon Bridge that is underway, and the new village facility out County Route 15 with its recently renovated and soon-to-be-utilized Community Center.

All in all, I have brought in about $18 million in infrastructure upgrades to the Village of Odessa. There is so much more to do, and I think Odessa needs a fresh person at the helm to take us to the next level. It is not a role for someone who is complacent.

I do hope someone steps up to run for mayor after my term ends, and that others run for the two trustee positions available next March. We cannot function as a village if no one wants to serve on the board, and I cannot do it forever. Anyone interested in running for mayor should contact me so we can discuss it. It is not an overwhelming job, and I will help my successor with a transition and free consulting as required. The time is approaching fast when I will fully retire after more than 39 years of public service to spend more time with my wife, kids, and grandkids!

Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer.

To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's second column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's third column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fourth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fifth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's sixth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's seventh column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's eighth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's ninth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's tenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's eleventh column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's twelfth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's thirteenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fourteenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's fifteenth column, click here.
To see Mayor Messmer's sixteenth column, click here.

 

 

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Charles Haeffner
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Odessa, New York 14869

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