For your convenience, we have installed the link below to make donations to this website easier. Now you can utilize your PayPal account or your credit card.
Click on the logo above to visit the website for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schuyler County
Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
“Striving to always improve”
ODESSA, Nov. 20, 2014 -- “There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” Those words were spoken many years ago by a man I believe was one of the greatest Presidents of all time, Ronald Reagan. I believe those words can be very useful to our everyday life in Odessa.
Many believe that life in a small town like ours is predictable and somehow preordained to be just that: small town. That we are restricted by our size and our resources to never become more than we are at this moment in time. I reject that notion and do believe we can become more; maybe not bigger, but there is always room for better.
I can honestly say that your Village Representatives are constantly striving to obtain that goal, to always improve, always think out of that box we are all thrown into -- and make life in our little corner of the world just a little better than it was before. Here are a few examples.
We have started our own Facebook page. We believe this will help us to distribute information in a timelier manner as well as providing a place to share the extensive history of Odessa. Please visit our page and view some of the incredible pictures our Village Historian John Jelliff has recently posted.
We are also looking into the possibility of allowing our residents to pay water and tax bills on line. We know this would be a welcome tool for many people; the question is how many, and would it be worth the expense that the Village would incur. We need more information to make a good decision. So, if this is something you would be interested in, please comment on our Facebook page or leave a message with Kristi at the office.
The Village recently reached an agreement with NYSEG and their Light Energy Efficiency Program to replace all the lights in the Fire Department with more efficient lighting. This could mean a savings of as much as $820 a year, or 29%. The Village's portion of the changeover cost would be $1,639. The remainder of the cost is absorbed by a NYSEG efficiency grant.
Many of you have seen the other latest improvement the Village has made to our leaf recovery program. Our new leaf Vacuum, which we purchased as a used unit, has been a great addition. It saves us time as far as collecting and for our residents who no longer have to bag them. A big thank-you goes out to our friends at the Town of Catharine who have graciously loaned us their tractor for use with the new machine.
The Village Board is also working on a new program involving the Fire Department. With recent developments involving surrounding fire departments (in reference to training or a lack thereof), the Village and the officers of our department have met and worked out a new system to insure our firefighters are receiving, and taking advantage of, all the mandated trainings available to them. This is a huge liability to our Village and we can no longer be lenient with our training requirements. To that end, our members will continue to be required to attend at least 4 trainings per year as well as 4 business meetings per year. If they are unable to, the department has instituted an inactive list. Once a member is on this list, he or she will have one year to obtain the required trainings to remove his or her name from the list. If the trainings are not obtained, removal from the department roster follows.
This was not an easy step for any of us to take. We all know that this is a volunteer organization and the vast majority of our members do their best to make the trainings, but with recent events in places like Owego, NY, we have to look out for the interests of the Village as a whole. In coming up with this new policy, we also looked for ways the Village could recruit and maintain more people. I believe we have found an answer that may help. At this time, the State of New York provides a $200 income-tax credit of any volunteer firefighter. Though the Village cannot do this with our taxes, says the Real Property Office, we may be able to do this in another way. Our proposal is to give a $100 per year stipend to any volunteer firefighter residing within the Village who keeps up with mandatory trainings. At present, this would affect about 5 or 6 members. Hopefully this would help increase that number and insure a well-trained department at a small investment by the Village. We are still in the discussion phase of this proposal, but we hope to enact it soon.
There are also some noteworthy happenings on our Main Street area. The former Odessa House is under new ownership and as you have no doubt seen, they are doing a great job making the old building look great once again. I’ve heard the plans include apartments on the upper floor with some type of business or businesses on the first floor. Some of the proceeds used to repair the building were made available from a Main Street grant the Village applied for and was awarded last year. We wish the new owners great success!
We will also be welcoming a new business to Main Street in the very near future. Odessa Wine and Spirits will soon be opening their doors. The business will be owned by Robert and Alyssa Wixson of Cayuta. We all wish them the best of luck as well.
Our park is proceeding, but very slowly. We are still in the process of obtaining the last portion of land needed. But we have cleared a substantial section of that. We will get there. I still believe this will be an incredible addition to our community. As always, we are looking for any and all volunteer help with this project.
Under the “did you know file,” the Village has been attempting to monitor the speeds on Main Street since the State removed our traffic light. I’m sure you will all be amazed to learn that the average speed on tickets issued within the Village is in the neighborhood of 55 miles per hour! Also, we have hired a new part-time employee for the Village DPW. His name is Ty Rogers. Ty is a retiree of the State Corrections Department with his last assignment being the recently closed Monterey Shock Camp. We are all happy to welcome him to our Village and look forward to many years of working with him.
Now to my favorite part of the year, Christmas! This year the Village will be hosting its 5th annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on December 7th at 5:45 p.m. The lighting will directly follow the Odessa Fire Department children’s Christmas party, which is from 4-6. Our goal is to make this a bigger event each and every year, but we need your help! If you have never made it to one of our lighting events, please make every effort to attend this year. We will have Santa, music and hot drinks. It’s a tradition we can all be proud of in our “Little Village on The Hill”! Let’s all help it to grow. In addition, The “Santa Mail” box will be available starting that night and ending December 21st. The North Pole said this was a huge hit last year, with nearly 100 letters from the children of Odessa and surrounding towns with all receiving a handwritten reply from the jolly one!
As always, my phone is always on, and I appreciate any feedback any of the residents of Odessa wish to give. Of course I am partial to the good comments, but will still accept the bad!
May I be the first to wish you all a very happy Holiday Season!
Keith T. Pierce
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869