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Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
“I'm proud of this budget”
March 6 -- This year's budget process has been an interesting one. I've
been waiting until it was done to bring you all the latest. As many of
you may know, our County is now at 100% valuation. What that means is
a large tax increase for some and a lowering of taxes for others.
The Village's present tax rate per $1,000 is $9.07. If the board chose
to keep the tax rate there, it would mean a windfall for the Village.
On the other hand, it would mean a lot of pain for many of our residents
(some would see their taxes double) who are allready struggling to get
by, many on fixed incomes. With that in mind, I and the other board members
have chosen to drop the Village's tax rate to $6.50 per $1,000 of assessed
value. This does not mean there won't be people paying higher taxes; some
will. Others will see their taxes drop. We have no control over this,
since it is entirely connected to the revaluation recently completed.
I am very proud of this budget and all the hard work that your Village
Board has put into it. It is never easy deciding how to spend other people's
money, and I assure you everyone on the Board thinks of it in that way.
The increases in spending come mostly within the Village's DPW Department.
This department has made great strides and improvements in the last six
months, and we all wanted to keep that trend moving forward. As I have
said in the past, our infrastructure, i.e. the water system and roads,
is one of our largest hurdles in the near future. What many of you may
not realize is that your present Village Board has been taking steps for
several years now to help us prepare for these expenses. For instance,
we have been placing away a little over $6,000 per year for the next time
we need to purchase a Village truck. WIth the next budget, we will have
a total of $24,000 in the unappropriated funds balance for that inevitable
purchase. We've also been able to, on a lesser scale, have some money
put aside for our water system to help with those little problems that
always seem to pop up. For instance, we now have both of our wells up
and working after many years of getting by on just one. This is the first
time since the late 1990s, to my knowledge, that both wells are up and
working, and we were able to do that through careful planning and foresight.
Speaking of the water system: Within our next budget, there will be a
small increase in the usage rate. As I've said in years past, this increase
is something we need to do in order to pay the bond payment on the system.
The bond was structured in such a way that the payment increases each
year until a certain year, at which time it begins to go back down slowly,
then is paid off. The payments will start to go down in the 2013-2014
budget and will be paid off in full by 2020. The increase amounts to 10
cents per 1,000 gallons of water used.
Just one last little piece of information for all of you on our budget
for last year, which will show you all how closely we live within our
means. Our projection for the end of our fiscal year is that we will be
$3,000 over budget. Why, you may ask? After adding up all expenses from
last year, the petition process that forced a vote on Village dissolution
cost the Village taxpayers $3,000.
The final topic I will discuss is the upcoming election. We all saw a
historical event on December 7th with a voter turnout of over 60% on the
dissolution question. That's amazing, and we need to see that again. I
know you're asking why, when the candidates -- myself and trustees Robin
Thoman and Shawn Crane -- are all running unapposed.
Well, just because no one else went through the arduous
task of getting petitions signed doesn't mean they're not running. It
is a commonly known fact that there is a small movement out there whose
only goal is to get the present Board and Mayor thrown out in hopes of
bringing up the dissolution question again without waiting for four years.
I would have no problem running against a competitor and debating the
issues we all face, but I'm not able to under these circumstances. All
I can do is bring you the information, and you decide for yourself if
we on the Board are doing our jobs. If you think we are, and you appreciate
it, then I strongly encourage you all to vote on Tuesday, March 15, from
12:00 noon to 9 p.m. at the Municipal Building.
Don't take anything for granted. Let your voice be heard
just as it was in December!
Keith T. Pierce
Village Board members
Pictured below, from left: Mayor Keith Pierce and Village Board
Trustees Peggy Tomassi, Timothy Hickis, Robin Thoman and Shawn Crane.
Trustees: Peggy Tomassi, Robin Thoman, Shawn Crane, Timothy
Village Clerk: Kristi Pierce, 300 E. Main St., Odessa,
Department of Public Works: Mark Candido
Village Justice: Ronald
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.
United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address: http://schumer.senate.gov/webform.html
Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed
United States House of Representatives
1208 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
DC Phone: 202-225-3161
DC Fax: 202-226-6599
State Senator Tom O'Mara
-- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca
(Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 415, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976
Assemblyman Christopher Friend
-- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538