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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce

“There is a lot going on”

ODESSA, Nov. 20 -- Greetings!

There sure are a lot of things happening in our little village of late. Let me fill you in!

First of all and most importantly to me (and the Hyers) is the fact that Owens Place has finally been completed! The edges have been smoothed out and a brand new set of guard rails installed in front of the Hyers'. I hear through the grapevine that Mrs. Hyer plans to decorate the new guard rail for the holidays! Can't wait to see it! Mitchell Place also received a fresh coat of asphalt and also looks great.

Our next project will be the very large and very dead cottonwood trees at the end of Merchant Ave. These old majestic beauties have been residents of our Village for at least 100 to 150 years, I'm told. Its sad to see them go, but as I said they (4) have all died and are just one good windstorm away from falling down. As I write this, it looks like next week will be the time they will come down. We will let affected residents know exactly when as we get the information from the contractor. In the meantime, I have been racking my brain for things we could do with the wood. I'm told there are very limited uses for cottonwood, but I would still love to come up with something to save just a piece of their history. The one idea I did have is that if the trees do turn out to be exactly 100 years old, it would be fun to somehow tie them in to the 100th anniversary of the fire department. Maybe cut a slab and use it for a time line? Anyone have any other ideas?

The board has voted to proceed with the shared services contract with the Village of Montour Falls for the DPW Superintendent position. As of right now, the ads have been placed and we are awaiting prospective applicants. What I want you all to remember is this has to be a very fluid position for at least the first year as we all sort out the good and the bad with the arrangement. It should only get better with time, so I would ask you all in advance for your patience and cooperation as we all move forward.

The other thing I spoke of in my last article was the anticipated stir for the dissolution of the Village. It was brought up, as anticipated, at our last board meeting. The board chose not to proceed with an official motion to begin the process, so there will be people out and about looking for signatures on a petition to commence the process. Because we have fewer than 500 registered voters in the Village, the petition will need to have at least 20% of the registered votors' signatures in order for us to proceed.

As I said in my last column, I am not opposed to listening to both sides of this debate. What I have done since then is to educate myself a little more on the subject and do feel I'm leaning more to one side now. That is all I would ask of you to do. Don't just sign a petition because the person asking you is a friend, or worse yet, because they just won't leave until you sign it! Know the facts and make a decision and stick to it either way. This is a big deal, so get the facts for yourself.

My first questions were: Will this save me money and will it cut down on services? From what I can gather, it will not save money on taxes -- just transfer what we are paying now to another place. I also believe services would definitely be diminished. People are always asking me what we get for our Village taxes. Well, that is a good question, and I do believe we should get more, but we do get something. For instance, if the Village were gone, there would be no one picking up leaves every day of the week like we have been this year. We do get water, maybe not the best in the world, but we do get it. If the Village is gone, say goodbye to our convienent curbside recycling pick-up, though I'm sure the Dudgeons would love to see you drop it off on Saturday mornings! No one has anything to do on Saturdays anyway, right?

The other part of this equation is the Towns. I'm not positve, but I think both Catharine and Montour would have to go along with this. The one sure thing is that the townspeople would definitely see an increase in their taxes. The Village also has this little matter of a water bond which, if I'm not mistaken, lasts another 10 or 12 years. Are the Towns just going to take on this debt load, or will the village have to pay it off before any merger can take place? The bottom line for me personally is this: the bigger a government gets, the worse off all of us are. All this would accomplish is creating a larger layer of government that is less responsive to its citizens. Our village is not perfect by any means, but it's ours! It needs work, and I believe that work has started. If we keep letting these little Villages around our country go, what will be left one day? Where will our history come from? Our founding fathers created this system of government well over 200 years ago and it has worked extremely well. Convince me of why we should change it.

I do have a few other random thoughts I'd like to share with you all and get your thoughts on them. We need a park on Main Street. Maybe by the pedestrian bridge after it has been removed? Maybe the lot between the Post Office and the RR bed? I wanted to mention last month how impressed I was with the cleanup job Bobby Landon has done behind his building near the bridge. It looks great! I wish the entire creek looked that good. That creek was one of the major pieces in the early history of Odessa. As such I think it is a key feature for us all to look at for the future of Odessa. A "River Walk" was just finished in nearby Owego, New York. Why couldn't we create a "Creek Walk"! It could be a part of a "Nature Path" that could circle the entire Village. Any ideas? I am also looking at clocks. Every small Village should have a clock. I'll let you know what I find! And last but not least, Christmas (if we can still call it that). Why don't we light up this town like never before! The snowflakes we put up are very nice, but we need more! Main Street business owners, I challenge you! Do it bigger and better then the business next door. And let's not forget the overpass. How about some ideas for that? Let's make people want to drive to Odessa just to see the lights. Furthermore, I pledge my assistance to any Main Street business that needs help decorating. (Labor only, no money!)

Till next time, the Pierces wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving

-- Mayor Keith T. 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: Vacant

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