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As Summer Winds Down, Village of Owego Mayor Addresses the Community, Looks to the Future

A Message from Village of Owego, Mike Baratta:

Owego Family, I wanted to take some time to write to you as summer is winding down. We at the village have been busy the past few months. The village board was able to pass our new budget and stay under the 2% tax cap, we came in at a 1.8% increase even with the challenging inflation and rising costs. We have held our sewer rates steady for four (4) years now with no increase. Around the village, things have been busy.

If you are looking for the village offices, you may notice we have moved. Our new location is 22 Elm St. We recently finished our new municipal building, which now houses the Clerk’s office and Mayor’s office, both previously at 178 Main St. as well as our DPW office staff, and Code Enforcement. The new building also includes a bigger meeting room for board meetings or any other village meetings, handicap accessibility, and parking. This building was 100% funded from a grant received after the 2011 flood, and no village tax money was used to construct the building. The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery or GOSAR completely funded the design and construction. We hope you stop in and check out the building soon.

All of our board meetings continue to be held in a hybrid fashion, the new room is setup for this and we feel that it improves transparency as well as offers easier public participation. They are available live on go to meeting video conferencing software, available on most any device. The links are on our webpage and on each agenda. After the meeting we also post the recording of the meeting to YouTube for viewing, so be sure to subscribe to our channel.

The Owego Police Department organized and ran a very successful National Night Out at Marvin Park. Chief Kennedy worked very hard to pull together a great event for the community. Events like these really showcase our efforts in community policing. There were many highlights to National Night Out which included, all emergency services not just police, but fire, EMS, the Tioga County Sheriff’s Department, and the New York State police, a touch-a-truck event, helicopter landing from Guthrie, and many kids events. The Chief is planning to organize another Village Appreciation night like we did last year in October with a bonfire, so look for more information coming soon on that.

We had a great summer for swimming; Marvin Park Pool has been getting quite a bit of use. Our last day of swimming will be Friday, August 26th. This year all of our usual summer festivals returned; hopefully everyone got out to enjoy some fun times.

With fall around the corner, as a reminder leaves do not have to be bagged, simply raked to the berm area between the sidewalk and the road. DPW has a truck that can vacuum them up. If you prefer to bag them, they ask that you please use the brown paper bags instead of plastic. We will also be repaving a number of roads this fall.

All of our village owned DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) projects are well into the design phase, and some are approaching having construction bid out very soon. These include: Repair of the clock tower on the historic central fire station, improvements to the Riverwalk, Draper Park, and the walking trails along the Owego Creek, a new “art park” in the vacant “pit” on North Ave., re-connecting the street lights on the southside of the river to work once again, repaving and reconfiguring the public parking lots downtown, and improvements at Marvin Park. All of these projects will be funded through New York State at 100% and have no match from the village tax dollars.

Stay safe and well everyone,
Michael Baratta III
Village of Owego – Mayor