Open Letter: Owego Mayor Baratta Notes Progress


Owego Family,
I wanted to take some time and write to you as summer is winding down. We at the village have been working hard. Our fiscal year closed out July 31st and I am happy to report that we finished the year with a positive balance. We are planning to use some of this money to do some projects that just cant fit within our normal budget such as: replacing the roof of 90 Temple St. (OPD), repairs to the parking lot at 90 Temple St., repairs to the roof of the mortuary in the cemetery, repairing the street sweeper (thank you to the Town of Owego as we have borrowed theirs a few times when ours has been broken) and a few other things. These improvements are much needed to preserve these buildings and equipment.

The DRI was announced and the Village was awarded over 4 million dollars to do capital projects, such as:
• Replacing a sewer line behind Lake St.
• Repairing the street lights on the southside along with other electrical issues around the village
• Repaving and re-striping all the municipal parking lots
• Improvements in Marvin Park
• Improvements to the trail system that runs along the Owego Creek and the Riverwalk
• Restoring 87 North Ave (Central Station)
• Create a new park on North Ave where the “pit” is

We are honored the state felt that all of these projects were worthy of state funding. 5.5 million dollars’ worth of funding was also given to private projects within our downtown region. The difference is those private projects all require a matching component, so this will create a substantial investment in our historic village. The projects listed above are fully funded and require no match, this will be a great spark to really fix some key items up and improve our downtown in a way we could have never dreamed.

Improvements at our waste water treatment facility are well underway and I am happy to report that the large capital investment there is on track schedule wise and also tracking very well budget wise. These improvements will help ensure that we have a solid waste water handling system for years to come and meet and exceed all DEC requirements.

With summer winding down I can say we had a great pool season at Marvin Park. I personally saw a lot of kids enjoying the water on many different days. I would like to thank all of the staff that makes that happen on a yearly basis, from our DPW crew to our lifeguards. Many communities struggled to staff their public pools this summer but we were able to be open normal hours every day we could. The fact we have a free pool right in the village, walkable from the heart of downtown is something to be proud of and something not very many communities can say. I would like to thank Johnsons Pools and Spa’s for helping us clear up some issues we had with our pool vacuum that broke, with their help the pool was crystal clear and clean all summer long. Also there was one resident that saw some concerns online about our residents possibly not having the right swimsuits or towels to enjoy the pool and started a bathing suit donation program that not only was very well received here in our village but also caught on in other communities. I also must mention that resident was my wife, great job Mrs. Baratta. Thank you to everyone who donated and supported the program, it will be back next summer.

The Baker Fireman’s Fountain was restored by the Owego Hose Team and boy does it look fabulous. Thank you to the Hose Team for all their hard work. The re-dedication weekend was absolutely perfect and this landmark will now be around for many more generations.

The village is using an emergency notification system called Code RED to notify residents, people who work in the village, own property or businesses of all sorts of emergencies. You can sign up even easier now by texting the code word “owego” to 99411. When you sign up you can choose to enroll in either just emergency messages or emergency and general messages. General messages are used for things like planned road closures or other village announcements.

The Owego Police will be having a ceremony to honor 2 officers that passed away while serving the village in the line of duty. The ceremony will be on October 13th and will honor the 150th anniversary of the passing of Isaac Wiltsie and the 50th anniversary of the passing of Forest Allen Hall.

I have gotten many questions about the condition of North Ave. I want to pass on that I have been in contact with NYS DOT and they do plan to at least patch it before winter. They would like to re-pave it entirely but are working with their budget.

We have held a few events lately to encourage the public to meet our first responders, pops with cops and popcorn with paramedics. These have gone great and we are planning a similar event for the fire department in early October.

With fall coming remember as you rake your leaves, they do not have to be bagged, just get them to the curb and we will do the rest with our vacuum truck. If you do want to bag them so they don’t blow all over please use either clear plastic bags or the brown paper bags.

Thank you to all of the Village employees, the board of Trustee’s as well as all of our volunteers on both the fire and ambulance sides. This summer has been great and we have worked together as one team with the betterment of our village as our top priority. Here is to a great fall season.

Michael Baratta III

Mayor – Village of Owego