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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce

“Staying positive”

ODESSA, Aug. 19 -- As some of you have no doubt noticed, it's been a long time since my last article.As most of you also know, there have been some changes in the Village over the last month. Because these changes have dealt with personnel issues, the board and myself are not allowed to discuss these issues with the public. This has been very frustrating for me because of the incredibly insensitive and untrue things that have been said about both me and everyone else involved with the Odessa Village Government. While we are not allowed to give our side of the story, others are able to go around the village every day and spin their own "version" of the truth.

I do have good news, as the title of this article says. "Staying positive" is what I intend to do. The good news is this: this too shall pass! The time will come when the truth will come out and people will see that the Village Board and I did what we thought was best for the Village. That is what all of us strive for regardless of what you might hear on the old "reliable" grapevine.

We have made it through the first hurdle of the grant process we started with SCOPED and the Village of Burdett. This is great news and we are told this usually means we will get all the way through. Council of Governments representatives were at our last board meeting and explained to us the changes they wish to make as to how SCOPED will be financed in the future. As of now, each municipality pays a fee to be involved with SCOPED. Odessa's fee is $1,000 per year. Membership at this point is voluntary.

The change would be centered around the sales tax revenues each municipality receives from the County. Instead of a flat amount, each municipality would give up a certain percentage of that revenue. Membership would also no longer be voluntary. If these changes aren't made, the representatives of the Council of Governments stated that SCOPED would be in the red by 2012. I have not always been a fan of SCOPED, but I do think it serves as a very valuable asset to our County. With that said, I'm not sure I like this approach to financing the program. For one thing, it will cost Odessa even more than it does now at a time when we need all the revenue we can get. I also am not comfortable with a government agency telling a municipality they have to do this. No doubt this will be in the local news for the next few weeks. Get informed and let your representatives know how you feel.

Other news in the Village. We are now being helped out with our water system by Harley Connelly from the Village of Watkins Glen. Harley has many years of experience with water systems and has been a great help to us, finding things that have not been done right or not done at all for the last couple years. I got to know him quickly as the water pressure at my house dropped off to nothing last week and he came by and found that the Village water meter had frozen up. Harley and Odessa DPW worker Eric Wheaton had it fixed up and flowing in no time.

Speaking of Eric, this young man has been doing a fine job since his responsibilities were greatly increased. He has had to come in and do the water system work every weekend for a month now. That's a lot to ask of a young man his age during the summer when all his friends are doing "fun" stuff. Thanks Eric; keep up the good work. You'll get a day off someday!

Eric has also been working on cleaning up the Municipal Building both inside and out. Just organizing and a fresh coat of paint inside have changed things greatly. Outside, piles have been straightened out and equipment cleaned up and placed neatly out back. Eric was also involved in completing the paving on Maple Ave. What an improvement! The street looks great. There are still a few odds and ends left to finish like soil and seed along edges and some crushed pavement to fill in along edges, but what a difference. The other project we will get to this year is Owen Place, where the water main breaks were. Residents along that street have been very patient with us on this, and I appreciate that very much.

I couldn't end without sharing the other news event in the Village. The chickens have come home to roost! It was decided by the board that both the 1935 law and the zoning guidelines do not specifically outlaw "livestock" in the Village. There is only recourse if the animals cause a problem in regards to noise or odor. So we will move forward and see how things go. I want to thank all those who took an interest in this and shared their opinions.

I think that brings you all up to speed. Regardless of what you might hear, there are a lot of good things happening and going to happen in our little Village on the hill. In the meantime, can we all try to just be civil? As I said, this too shall pass and time will move on.

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