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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce

“The SCOPED Factor”

ODESSA, June 17 -- Welcome to the second installment of the mayor's memos. First of all, I would like to thank all of you who sought me out to let me know how much you enjoyed my first column. That meant a great deal to me and pushes me to do more. A great deal has happened since the first installment. I have met a couple of times with the nice people from SCOPED (Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development). What an asset these people are. I wish we would have taken advantage of their services years ago. There are several areas in which they are attempting to help us out.

The first exciting thing we as a village are going to work on is a study in conjunction with SCOPED and the Village of Burdett. This study is the same study that Montour Falls and Watkins Glen worked on together a couple years ago. In a nutshell, this study will help us to obtain grants and other funding options because we can show we have a plan in place for the Village. This study was instrumental for Montour Falls to obtain funding for the Montour House project. I feel we need to start somewhere and this is a good place to start.

SCOPED is also working for us in regards to our municipal building. There is funding out there; we just need to write a compelling grant request, with the help of SCOPED, and who knows, we may just get some funding. If we are not successful, we will need to start thinking about other forms of funding, ie: Loans! This issue is not going away and can no longer be put off. As is with all infrastructure, it gets old and needs replacing. Ours is no different.

We are a few steps further ahead on our pedestrian bridge issue. SCOPED is also working to find funding for this project. Burdett has a wonderful pedestrian bridge in its village. The bridge that was there was owned by the County. The County used various funding to remove the original bridge and replace it with what is there now. After the completion of the project, the ownership of the bridge was transferred to the Village of Burdett. Of course we own our bridge, so that will complicate matters.

So those are some of the avenues being pursued by the Village and SCOPED. Other noteworthy happenings in the village include, but are not limited to the following.

Ms. Darling of Church St. came to our May meeting and expressed an interest in developing her land into a skate/basketball park for the children of our Village. What a wonderful thought for our Village. Unfortunately it will be an uphill battle for Ms. Darling for a couple of reasons. First of all, the insurance cost for this would be astronomical. Secondly, there would need to be additional funding to help her develop the land in the way that she would like it. Unfortunately we explored options for funding through SCOPED and learned that there is very little funding available for privately owned projects. The idea is still alive and moving forward. If there is anyone who has any ideas on this, don't hesitate to contact the Village.

Another interesting development is a request in the Village to own and raise chickens. They are reported to be very small and there will be no roosters. In addition to that request is the possibility of Toy Goats at another location within the Village. I must admit I am torn on this one. I am strongly opposed to telling people what they can and can not do with their own property. On the other hand, what is our responsibility to our neighbors? Should we be able to do whatever we want with the property we own? How about some input from all?

I must say I have learned a great deal in the two months that I have been in office. You most definitely can not make everyone happy. Every time you make one person happy, another one is unhappy. So how does one go about making everyone happy? Well, I've decided to always follow my heart and do what I think is right for the Village and always try to listen to the people. If the people are not happy with those decisions, they have recourse in two years. The single most-asked question I get when I tell people I am the Mayor of Odessa is: "Why would you want that job?" With that in mind, I have spent the last few weeks trying to figure that out. I decided it definitely wasn't for the money; I came to that conclusion after doing the math. As Mayor I make an average of $3.85 cents per hour. So it's not that.

Prestige? Never entered my mind. I suppose there is a certain amount of that, but mostly what I feel is pride, not ego. Eventually I came up with the answer. Its really kind of self-serving, I guess, but here it is. I love living in small-town America and I want my children to have that same option open to them. You may not know this, but I grew up just down the road in Candor. I loved every aspect of growing up there. Everyone knew each other and you didn't have to lock your doors at night. Now I love every aspect of living in Odessa for the same reasons. That way of life is slowly being eroded away little by little, and I for one am going to try to do something about it. I may not be successful and time will march on, but I for one will fight to keep our "Little Village on the Hill" an example of how things can be modernized while keeping that small-town flavor we all love.

Of course, this objective will be much easier to obtain if I have some help. I already have great people on the board with me; all I need is you. Get involved, be a part of the community you live in; your opinion does matter. It doesn't have to be something big or overt, everyone has a talent. Use it. If nothing else, let's all try to do just one "Random Act of Kindness a Day." Can't hurt!

Mayor Pierce


Photo in text: Mayor Keith T. Pierce


Village Board members

Pictured below, from left: Mayor Keith Pierce and Village Board Trustees Peggy Tomassi, Rita Decker, Robin Thoman and Shawn Crane..

Mayor: Keith Pierce

Trustees: Rita Decker, Peggy Tomassi, Robin Thoman, Shawn Crane

Village Clerk: Kristi Pierce, 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-2100

Deputy Clerk: Kay Collins, 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-2100

Department of Public Works: Tim Jaynes

Municipal Building: 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-3792

Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library: 106 First St., Odessa, 5942791


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Thomas Gifford, Delmar Bleiler, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Dennis Fagan, Paul Marcellus, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Delmar F. Bleiler Jr., 594-3437

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone

Paul Marcellus, 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
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

U.S. Rep. Eric Massa

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 George H. Winner, Jr. -- 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 Tom O’Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538

Assemblyman James G. Bacalles -- Steuben, Yates
439 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-5791


© The Odessa File 2009
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869