From the Desk of Mayor Michael Baratta III

As winter is upon us, I wanted to take some time to write to you and update you on what is going on within the village government. We have continued to work on the DRI grant. We have met with the Department of State concerning the village lead projects and are in process of generating a request for proposal for a design firm to start working on the details of the projects.

The DRI is not the only thing going on either; there is also the continuation of the new municipal building. This building is funded with a grant received from the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery after the 2011 flood. The goal is to move critical records and services up out of the flood plain. 

The village received $3 million to build a new building. This project was stalled out for a long time due to many different issues; it is back rolling and we have selected to locate the new building in front of the current DPW building at 20 Elm St. It will be raised up so the ground floor is above the flood plain elevation, keeping the items inside safe in the event of another flood. This building will house our DPW offices, code enforcement, the staff currently at 178 Main St. and our clerk’s office. It will also contain a boardroom to be used for public meetings. 

The project is moving forward, the building is designed and is in the review stages; after the reviews are complete it will go out to bid and then construction can begin. We have full intention to stay within the budget given to us by the state, therefore not passing any of the burdens onto the village taxes.  

Our wastewater treatment plant is undergoing major changes. Phase 2 of our upgrades to update equipment and better serve the village is going well overall. There have been challenges, which we are working through with our architect and contractors. Any large construction project has challenges; we are focusing on how to work through them together as a team to keep the project moving forward and on budget. 

There is another project that will have to be done at the wastewater plant to keep us up to par with recent EPA changes. We will be installing an ultra-violet disinfection system on the very end of our system. This will further clean the water that we pump into the Susquehanna River. The costs of this project are estimated at $1.7 million. The village has been very aggressive in requesting grant funding to help cover the costs of this project. We have successfully received grants totaling $1,175,000 to help offset the costs of this project. We are looking at options to cover the remainder of the project cost with the smallest impact to our system users. 

Just a reminder, with the worst of winter is typically in February, please keep your sidewalks clean. If you know of a resident who is unable to shovel for some reason please get in touch with us and we can see if there is a way to help. 

Things coming up on the radar include the village elections on March 18; they are on a Wednesday this year because of St. Patrick’s Day. Up for election are the positions of Mayor, Clerk / Treasurer, and one trustee from each ward. All of the currently elected members plan to run for re-election; myself, Rod Marchewka, Ed Morton, Charles Plater, and Fran VanHousen under the “Better Owego Together” Party. 

Looking forward to spring we are beginning to plan park cleanups, hopefully we can do more than just Marvin Park this year. I would like to add the park in the Halstead Development if we can get enough interest and volunteers. We are also beginning to plan a larger community cleanup in partnership with a large village business; more to come soon on that, and I think it will be very exciting and enhance the sense of pride within our village. 

Thank you to all of the Village employees, the Board of Trustees, as well as all of our volunteers on both the fire and ambulance sides. This fall and winter have been great and we have worked together as one team with the betterment of our village as our top priority. 

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