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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
ODESSA, Jan. 11 -- Greetings, my fellow Odessans! Its been a while again. I have started this column several times in my head over the past month, but as all of you know, it's so hectic at this time of year. There's so much going on in the Village right now, I'm not sure where to begin.
As some of you may know, the attempt at hiring a Public Works Superintendent for the Village of Odessa and the Village of Montour Falls has come to an end. I can assure you it was not due to a lack of effort on either side. In the end it was decided by both entities that the needs of the respective Villages were just too different to make it a successful venture. That, however, does not mean that our new relationship with the Village of Montour Falls will stop. Mayor Kelley has assured me that if we need any help with anything that they will be there to help. In the interim, Eric Wheaton has been doing a fine job keeping up with the various needs of our Village. For never having plowed snow, he has done a good job of keeping the roads clear. My goal is to always have the roads clear by 6 a.m., and for the most part I think we have succeeded. We unfortunately will have to purchase more salt then we normally use in a given year. Because there has been scarcely a day where there wasn't at least a dusting on the streets, we have gone through it quickly. We try to mix the salt with sand, but if we use too much sand our little village will be a dust bowl come springtime! The other time we use sand is when the temperatures are too cold for salt to work (single digits). I also want to assure those residents who live on corners where snow gets pushed onto their sidewalks that we don't do this to anger anyone. Corners are challenging to deal with. The snow has to go somewhere, and unfortunately it usually ends up on the sidewalk. We have changed techniques where possible, to keep this to a minimum.
Our next step has been to re-post the DPW Superintendent position for Odessa. The deadline is this week and we will review all applications at our next meeting.
The remainder off the giant trees from Merchant Avenue have finally been removed. Thanks again to those residents in that area who have been very patient. We have removed a very dangerous situation from the Village. I would like to thank Mr. George Tanner for removing the final large pieces that we were not able to move. I would also like to thank them for taking the time to cut a slab of the giants for us to display at the Village offices, which you will all see in the spring.
I would also like to thank all of you who responded to my call for Christmas lights this Holiday season. The Village was beautiful this year and I thank you all for that. Thanks to Mike Tomassi and the other firefighters for putting up the snowflakes again this year. You may have also noticed our attempt at placing a Christmas tree on top of the Village offices. It looked great for a few days until the windstorm blew in and knocked it over! It wasn't that we didn't have it weighted down enough; rather the wind split the boards in half that we had nailed to the bottom! We will go back to the drawing board next year.
Village elections are on the horizon and I would encourage any and all to take part in the process. If you have any questions about that process, please don't hesitate to contact me or the Village offices. There are dates and deadlines if anyone interested should want to know. It's not for everybody, but it does have its rewarding moments!
My present project is one I have mentioned before: a Village clock. My goal is to unveil this clock at the 100-year anniversary of the fire department. I had a visit last week from a company that sells these clocks and was quite impressed with their product and service. If you would like to see one, there is one in Horseheads. My plan is to raise the majority of the money from the private sector. Anyone interested in contributing or helping me with this project, please feel free to contact me.
The last thing up for discussion is the possible dissolution of the Village of Odessa. I want to tread lightly with this one only because I don't want to influence people's minds. I would rather they get informed on their own. I have spoken about this in previous articles, so I think you all know where I stand on this. I don't think there is any conceivable way it would be cheaper for me as a taxpayer to dissolve the Village. I also think the level of service would drop dramatically. No more recycling pickup, no brush pickup, no Christmas tree pickup, no Village cleanup day with dumpsters. We would lose a lot. We (Village residents) would also continue to pay for our water system. This would be attached to our tax bill until the bond is paid off.
There is a group of caring citizens leading the way on this, and I appreciate them for the work they have obviously done on this issue. They need to have a certain amount of signatures on petitions in order for us to proceed with a survey, or the Village can decide to proceed with the survey on its own. To that end, the Village is at this time trying to get funding through a grant to pay for this survey. If we are not able to get those grants, the Village would have to pay for the entire amount of the survey. How much is that, you ask? Well, the average is about $45,000. If we get the grant, it would be 10% of that. Better hope for the grant! I could not support the Village spending $45,000 on a survey to tell us whether or not it would be cheaper to dissolve the Village or continue on. We could make a lot of improvements to the Village with that money. So as I always say, learn the facts, be informed, and stand up for what you believe in.
I thank you all for the kind comments I receive from these articles and am looking forward to 2010!
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
Top row (from left): Thomas Gifford, Dennis Fagan, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Paul Marcellus, Stewart Field
Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517
Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967
Doris L. Karius, 546-5544
Barbara Halpin, 594-3683
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
United States Senate
U.S. Rep. Eric Massa
United States House of Representatives
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
Assemblyman Tom O’Mara
-- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Assemblyman James G. Bacalles
-- Steuben, Yates
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869