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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
ODESSA, April 26 -- Another year of no tax increase!
How often do you see those words in print these days? It's true, the Village of Odessa will not have a tax increase again this year. I commend the Village Board and our Clerk on the wonderful job they did in coming up with a fiscally responsible budget for the 2010-11 year. It's so refreshing to see a government agency live within its means and not overburden its residents. Maybe the folks in Albany and Washington, D.C. should pay more attention to how smalltown government works!
There are a couple of noteworthy items involving our DPW department. Our newest employee, Heather McFall, has come up to speed quickly and seems to be fitting in to our little village nicely. Paul and Heather have been working quite a bit on the yearly Spring clean up, chipping brush, fixing plow damage, and mowing. We have added a little mowing to their schedule this year after agreeing to help out the Town of Catharine with their park on Grant Road. It only takes us a couple of hours and helps to defray expenses for the Town, so it helps us all in the end. It's very refreshing to have a good working relationship with our friends at the Town. Shared services is a great thing when both sides work together.
Another exciting project getting started in regards to the DPW is something I've been trying to make happen for a year. We will soon begin construction of a salt storage building. The new structure will be going up right next to our present DPW building. This structure will give us the ability to move the salt from our present building in order to provide more winter storage for the trucks and other equipment. Having the salt in that old building has taken its toll on both our building and equipment over the years, so this move should help both last longer. The new building will also give us additional, out-of-the-weather storage for the summer months. The project will cost roughly $16,000. The funds for this job will come from the CHIPS program, which is money we receive from the State for road repairs. The majority of that money (about $13,000) will come from the money we received in 2009. We placed the job out to bid and I'm happy to tell you we awarded the job to a local company, Reynolds Logging.
One last note on the DPW department. Be sure to watch for information regarding hydrant flushing in the Village. We didn't do this as many times as usual last year, and we have paid for it with more clogged meters than in previous years. I know it's a hassle to deal with, but I assure you it will help us all in the long run.
Mark your calendars for this upcoming Saturday, May 1st. The Village will be holding its annual Spring clean-up day! This event, started several years ago, has been a big hit with the Village residents. There will again be dumpsters available at the Village offices for Village residents. There are some rules, so I encourage you to call Kristi at the office so everyone is on the same page. The Odessa Fire Department will again be washing down Main Street, so I encourage anyone residing on Main Street to find alternative parking for the early morning hours of Saturday.
I've been in office a year now, and there is one lament on that year gone by. It's been a difficult year, but I think one we all learned from. I set some goals and was able to achieve some. We were finally able to get the problems on Owens Place fixed. We also were able to pave Maple Ave. and Mitchell Street. The new salt shack was a big goal of mine as well. The huge dangerous trees on Merchant Ave. are also gone. Those are all good things, but not enough. I didn't get that darned pedestrian bridge down yet, but I will!
The Village of Odessa is in good fiscal shape at this point. You should know, though, there are a few obstacles on the horizon that we all need to plan for. Our infrastructure is in need of upgrades. We have been doing a good job on our streets, attacking one or two a year. Obviously our water system will need upgrades in the near future. Though many problems stem from the pipes leading from the main line to the houses, there are a few mains that need to be looked at. My point in all of this is to say, if we have to do these things, why not do it all at one time? In that I mean the addition of sewer lines, and how about natural gas? This is a huge investment in both time and money for all of us, but one I think we need to start looking at. I would love to hear from as many of you as possible on this, so drop me a line and let me know how you feel.
In closing, I would like to thank the entire Village on last week's memorial for Bobby Franklin. We have all lost a great servant to our little community and will miss him dearly. Bobby set an example of community involvement we should all strive to match. Our deepest sympathies go out to Rebecca and all of Bobby's family.
Till next time, find a way to make a difference today, and in the words of the famous Stanley Palmer: "Keep your powder dry!"
Photo in text: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
Village Board members
Pictured below, from left: Mayor Keith Pierce and Village Board Trustees Peggy Tomassi, Timothy Hickis, Robin Thoman and Shawn Crane..
Mayor: Keith Pierce
Trustees: Peggy Tomassi, Robin Thoman, Shawn Crane, Timothy Hicks
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: Paul LaRow
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