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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer
“Spring is coming and so are good things for Odessa”
The following is the fourth in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.
ODESSA, March 11, 2019 -- As the weather is starting to break and the end of snow may be near, great things are coming to Odessa!
First, I would like to welcome Pam Kelly to the Odessa Team. Pam will be our new Clerk/Treasurer and will start work on March 18th. Her hours will be Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8-1, and Tuesdays from 1-6 to allow folks to stop by and do business after work on their way home -- something many folks have asked us for. The office will be closed Wednesdays. We can adjust hours if needed after Pam gets rolling.
I have been working with our engineering firm on a Water Study Grant to dive into our water system and determine what is actually causing the water issues in many of your homes. This grant is a 100% funded grant where the engineers will do a complete study to determine what steps we need to take to fix our water issues once and for all.
The study will take time and it will be followed by applications for New York State grants to fix the issues in order of importance. Some of the issues we may be able to address with water funds. Things we will look at, but not limited to, will be the efficiency/effectiveness of our water treatment system to bring you cleaner water, what aging water lines need to be replaced and what the priority is for all the issues the study finds. This grant will be submitted within two weeks and is a rolling grant, which means it will be reviewed upon receipt for potential approval. The grant will be for $30,000 to complete the study.
Today I completed a conference call with all parties involved with our Sewer System on Main Street and things are moving along very well. Next week the Board will re-validate, by roll call vote, the State Environmental Quality Review that will start things progressing, leading to the April Board Meeting where we will review and vote on a Bond Resolution for the funds needed for the project. The notices for these have been posted in the Hi-Lites newspaper. I have been working with the bond company and we are in good financial position to assume the bond, and the project, once operational, will receive enough revenue to pay the annual payment per the bond contract. This Bond will NOT raise taxes.
We currently have a WIIA Grant that will finance the engineering design, the land purchase and the first payment of the grant that will come two years after the first draw from the bond. Essentially, having the WIIA grant making the first payment will allow the system to be completed and functioning before we need to make a payment from the revenues. So the first payment of the bond from the Village Sewer District funds should be about three years out from the first draw from the bond. This puts the Village in an excellent position.
Additionally, 2020 is the year that the Safe Streets Grants are opening and we will be submitting a sidewalk grant for Odessa. Ideally we will run new sidewalks over top of the sewer, as recommended by the engineers, after the sewer is installed. If awarded the grant it will put a new sidewalk all the way down College Avenue for our kids and then down Speedway, if we determine the feasibility of that. We will look at other troubled spots in the Village for inclusion as well. We are focused on safe sidewalks -- for our students to get to and from school as there are quite a few that walk to school, and for our residents who like to walk in the mornings and evenings with some adorable furry friends. Safety is a priority!
The sewer system will cover the Main Street Sewer District as approved by the previous Village vote, but will now run along College Avenue and turn down Speedway rather than on 224 where there are no homes or businesses to connect to in the future. This new route for the sewer line will afford residents the opportunity to connect to the sewer in the future at their discretion. We have begun preliminary discussion for the land to locate the treatment plant on and as that develops I will post more information. This new route for the sewer line reduces the cost of the project as well.
Additionally, as you drive on Church Street you will notice our new speed tracking signs that will record the date/time of speeders and compile the data for reporting to the Sheriff's Department to help with targeted enforcement. These signs will move to other streets like Speedway and Brooklyn Terrace in the future to help those areas and then other streets as required. Please let us know if you have speeding issues on your street so we can put the signs there as part of the rotation.
Things are happening and as always everyone is invited to the Board meetings to voice your concerns or to simply see what is happening.
Don't forget the Village Elections are March 19 from 12 noon-9 p.m. Come out and vote!
Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869