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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
“We have a lot to be proud of in Odessa”
ODESSA, Jan. 6 -- January 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. This is true for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s the greatest day of college football all year; a man (or woman) can recline all day and just watch game after game. It just doesn’t get any better -- that is, until Penn State lost and those pesky Buckeyes won! That kinda put a damper on the rest of the day. The second reason I enjoy that day is it’s a great time to get retrospective upon the events and happenings of the year gone by. Now before I was honored with the title of Mayor of Odessa, that endeavor could be accomplished in a matter of a few minutes. Now, however, it seemed to invade my thoughts for most of the day. Some good, some not so good.
Our Village accomplished many good things over the previous 365 days. We removed a decrepit old bridge that had been the source of much concern for many years without any additional expense to our taxpayers. We were also able to build a much needed and long desired salt storage facility. This was also done with no added expense to our residents. Our water system made strides in 2010. We recovered a well we had not been able to use in many years; we also added an additional section of water main to our system, opening availability of water to more residents. Conversely, we were able to disconnect a section that has been plagued with leaks for many years. With our addition of Mark Candido as DPW chief, we have been able to improve our overall water quality slightly, and he has done a remarkable job in finding cost savings for the system while also finding ways to improve the overall operation of a system in need of many updates. In the last months of 2010 we were able to significantly improve our facilities at the DPW garage. We removed all the old aluminum siding and replaced it with new steel siding (without all the holes). We also updated all the electric thanks to Bud Kibbe, our Building Inspector. Future improvements include insulation and lighting. This project was also completed without cost to Village taxpayers. This was a remarkable project when you consider only a few short years ago people were telling us the building was unsafe and needed to be replaced.
Those were just a few of the highlights that came to mind. Unfortunately we all know that there were a few bumps in the road in 2010 -- the biggest of course being the movement to dissolve the village. Of course, I am torn on whether this was a dark moment or not. I know it was a time of stress and anguish for many, but I can’t help but think it was something good that brought a lot of like-minded people together to fight for a common cause. It was a true democracy in action, the way it was meant to be, as they say. People got involved in a record-setting kind of way, on both sides. We had a larger turnout for the voting than we have ever had in this Village. I only hope that people turn out for the March elections in the same numbers. I would also love to say that this time of unrest in our Village is over, but I know it’s not. There are still many in our Village who think it would be best to dissolve (at least 74, if you go by the vote) and I know they will be out in full force when the March elections roll around. Why do I think that, you might ask? Well, many have said that they will not wait four years to bring this up again. The only way this can be accomplished is by getting three like-minded people elected to the Village Board and initiate another Dissolution Study and vote. If this happens, so be it. But do any of the 154 residents who voted against dissolution think we should go through this whole thing again in 2011?
Enough with the bad! We have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. I am confident that our water system will only continue to improve under the guidance of Mark Candido. Our streets will continue to get better with the efforts Mark is putting into his ever evolving five-year plan. Our Village will only continue to beautify as we have many plans for increased park areas and the planting of many trees. Our joint Village study with Burdett should be completed, which will give us all a “road map” for improvements for years to come. Speaking of parks, a bright young man in our community has come forward with plans to revitalize the area around the old pedestrian bridge. This will help him to complete his requirements for Eagle Scout. I’ve got to say that kind of thing gets me going! In this day and age when our youth seems to get all the bad press, it’s refreshing to see a young man like this come forward and help his community. I am very proud of him and proud of his parents for raising such an outstanding son. I will keep you all informed on this as it unfolds.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that we all have a lot to be proud of in our “Little Village on the Hill” and even more to look forward to in the coming year. We can all improve the community one step at a time, and I believe we can do it in a fiscally sound way. It just takes creativity and a desire to make things better. We have many mountains in front of us, most pressing being our infrastructure -- which will need to be addressed in the near future. But if we all just work together, we will get through it. Thank you for your time and as always thank you for the honor of being your Mayor.
Village Board members
Pictured below, from left: Mayor Keith Pierce and Village Board Trustees Peggy Tomassi, Timothy Hickis, Robin Thoman and Shawn Crane..
Mayor: Keith Pierce
Trustees: Peggy Tomassi, Robin Thoman, Shawn Crane, Timothy Hicks
Village Clerk: Kristi Pierce, 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-2100
Department of Public Works: Mark Candido
Village Justice: Ronald Goossen
Municipal Building: 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-3792
Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library: 106 First St., Odessa, 5942791
Schuyler County Officials
Top row (from left): Thomas Gifford, Dennis Fagan, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field
Dennis Fagan, Tyrone
Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967
Doris L. Karius, 546-5544
Barbara Halpin, 594-3683
Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385
Thomas Gifford, Montour Falls
Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen
Stewart Field, Reading Center
County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133
Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222
Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222
County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181
District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383
State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County
Sen. Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
United States Senate
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed
United States House of Representatives
State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 415, Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Christopher Friend
-- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869