You’re Invited to Celebrate Putnam County Day Friday, June 9, 2017, 10:00 a.m.

1917-2017 Commemorating the Centennials:

  • The United States entry into World War I…
  • Women’s Suffrage in New York State…
  • Putnam County comes together…

Please join Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Historian Sarah Johnson, Ph.D., to celebrate Putnam County’s 205th birthday and to honor local residents and their outstanding contributions to local history Including:

  • Exemplary Public History: Kelley Howard, former Executive Director, Putnam Valley Historical Society
  • Digital History Award: Southeastern New York Library Resources Council’s Hudson River Valley Heritage
  • Preserving Local History Awards: Brewster Public Library, Brewster Standard Archives, 1869-1982 Mahopac Public Library, The Putnam County Courier, 1849-1930 Alice Curtis Desmond & Hamilton Fish Library’s Livingston-Svirsky Archive
  • Innovative Interpretation and Preservation Award: Scenic Hudson

Putnam County Day

Friday, June 9, 2017, 10:00 am
Historic Courthouse 44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY

Join us for the county’s traditional birthday cake to be cut and served in the lobby of the David D. Bruen County Office Building following the ceremony. The public is welcome, no RSVP required. For more information on the event, please contact the Historian’s Office at 845-808-1420 or historian@putnamcountyny.gov
Poster Art: “Sunrise or Sunset Own a Liberty Bond” by Eugenie DeLand, 1917
You’re Invited to Celebrate Putnam County Day

County Executive Chairs First Panel Session to Work on Putnam County Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan

County Executive Chairs First Panel Session to Work on Putnam County
Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan

Meeting at TOPS Center Draws Quorum of Representatives from County’s Six Municipalities

CARMEL, NY – On Thursday, May 18th, 2017 Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell initiated a county-wide planning session designed to save money for taxpayers through increased efficiencies across government services. As mandated by Governor Cuomo, Thursday’s panel included supervisors and mayors or their designated representatives from Putnam’s six towns and three villages. Representatives from the Carmel, Mahopac and Putnam Valley Central School Districts, municipal Highway Departments, and the county legislative body, were also in attendance among others at the public hearing.

County Executive Odell presented details associated with the initiative, which includes a narrow execution timeline. An initial Shared Services Plan, including certification as to the accuracy of tax savings, must be collaboratively developed with the panel and submitted to the county legislature before August 1, 2017.  Upon review, the legislature will provide an advisory report and the County Executive may modify the plan and resubmit it no later than September 15, 2017.  Also within this timeline, the panel, Putnam County Legislature and County Executive will accept input and testimony on the plan from the public via two additional public hearings, which are scheduled for June 20th and July 18th, 2017 at the Putnam County Training & Operations Center (TOPS) in Carmel, NY.

“Putnam County has the lowest portion per tax dollar of any of New York State’s 62 counties, and my administration is proud of that fact,” said Odell. “We got there through diligent fiscal responsibility, including sharing services wherever possible. I am optimistic that by working together toward a shared objective that Putnam County will continue to drive innovative cost-saving strategies that reduce duplicative services and share resources wherever practical.”

The County Executive opened the meeting by asking the municipality representatives if they were already implementing shared services strategies.  The overwhelming majority of panel members raised their hands in the affirmative.

Odell raised the issue of school taxes, which comprise 0.71cents of every tax dollar paid by Putnam County residents.  “As co-chair of the New York State Association of Counties, our goal is the reduction of property taxes in New York State, but in order for a realistic discussion to take place, school taxes and how public education is funded must be part of the discussion,” said Odell. “We keep chasing the small money and we need to address the areas that cost big money.”

Several current initiatives and new ideas were discussed, including the East of Hudson Watershed Corp., which is a collaboration of 19 municipalities charged with meeting storm water regulations in a cost effective and efficient manner; the Putnam County Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability, which has been focusing on fiscal vision for Putnam County since 2014; and Video Court Appearances, a new alternate method of arraignment that was started by the Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability. The county has implemented this on a limited basis successfully and has proven that it will save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“In order to fully implement an electronic video court appearance option across the county, we need legislation from Albany,” said Odell. “We have two bills awaiting the Governor’s approval to move forward on this plan, which will significantly reduce overtime, and wear and tear on transport vehicles while ensuring safe, judicially sound, and efficient arraignments.”

A video recording of Thursday’s panel meeting and a copy of the slide presentation is available on the Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/. Additionally, a copy of the New York State Shared Services law is available at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/countywide_services.html.

click here for presentation and more!

Create a Pollinator Paradise Supporting Pollinators in our Backyards and Gardens

Did you know that your backyard can offer habitat and food for pollinators? The choices you make in planning and caring for your landscape can affect pollinator abundance and species diversity. Just like us, these insects need shelter, food, and an environment safe from harmful chemicals. Below are four steps you can take to make a pollinator paradise.

The Bee-Friendly Backyard

New York is home to over 450 native bee species. Along with the imported honeybee these native bees pollinate agricultural crops and wildflowers. Bees aren’t the only pollinators. Specialized flies, beetles, butterflies, birds and bats pollinate our flowering plants too. But honeybees are familiar and many people have heard about honeybee colony collapse disorder and its possible impacts on our food supply. In 2015, Governor Cuomo established an interagency task force on Pollinators, with several goals, including pollinator habitat enhancement. That’s where you come in.

Click here to learn more!

PUTNAM DA USES NY SAFE STREET GRANT MONEY TO PURCHASE BODY ARMOR VESTS FOR SHERIFF’S OFFICERS

PUTNAM DA USES NY SAFE STREET GRANT MONEY TO PURCHASE BODY ARMOR VESTS FOR SHERIFF’S OFFICERS

CARMEL, NEW YORK – MAY 23, 2017: Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy announced today that he has used money from the Safe Street Grant to purchase five body armor vests for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. The vests will be worn by Deputy Sheriff’s on assignment in potentially dangerous situations.

Sheriff Donald B. Smith stated that “all of us in the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office are grateful to District Attorney Bob Tendy and his office for providing several new bullet-proof vests to us. The new vests were issued to investigators and to deputies assigned to our Narcotics Enforcement Unit, to replace old vests that had reached the end of their effective lifespans. The D.A.’s acquisition of the new vests for our members truly represents a potentially life-saving gift for the men and women who will wear them while doing their duties in harm’s way.”

Tendy said “the Safe Street Grant money is something that we can put to great use, and making sure our Sheriff’s Deputies have the protection they need is extremely important. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with Sheriff Smith in this endeavor.” He added, “Everyone in law enforcement is part of a team, and whenever my office can help, we will.”

CLICK FOR PRESS RELEASE

 

Senator Terrence Murphy speaking

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by state Senator Terrence Murphy and other government officials for an information session about the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative.

On Thursday, May 18, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by state Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and local government and school officials for an information session about the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative. The Initiative, included in the enacted FY 2018 Budget, requires county officials to develop localized plans that find property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and propose coordinated services to enhance purchasing power.

The meeting was the first of three sessions scheduled for the governor-mandated panel. The next date is Tuesday June 20 at 4 p.m. The final session will be held on July 18. All sessions are held at the Tops auditorium.

The public is invited to the meetings and is encouraged to provide Putnam County’s administration feedback and suggestions on shared services.

Click here to visit the shared Initiatives Page for more information & the video presentation

Having financial problems with your house? We are here to help! Putnam County Housing Corp.

PUTNAM COUNTY HOUSING CORP.
A non-profit corporation, we hope to assist you with all your housing needs regardless of your income.
We offer a comprehensive housing program serving both renters and homeowners.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
WWW.PUTNAMHOUSING.COM

Cutting Veterans’ Services – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Cutting Veterans’ Services – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Karl Rohde, director, Putnam County Veterans Service Agency

In 1991, Governor Mario Cuomo attempted to reduce his New York State budget by cutting services to the Veterans of Putnam County.  Today, the legacy continues as his son and current NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo, attempts a similar strategy.

First, a bit of history — Back in 1991 the New York Division of Veterans Affairs announced that they were going to close the Putnam County office for budgetary reasons.  The closing of the office was going to save about $50,000 out of a $5 Million Budget that had to be cut by $500,000.  Fortunately, Putnam succeeded in mobilizing its Veterans and won a reprieve. As part of the new deal, the Putnam County office would remain open, but the County would foot the bill to house the NY State Division Service officer, and provide secretarial assistance for the two days the service officer was on site.  In addition, the County would also provide clerical assistance on the other three days of the week to schedule appointments, as well as providing phone service and computer access at no charge to the State.

After the State’s second attempt to close the Putnam Office in April 2015 was thwarted, I formally requested, as Director of the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency and provider of free office space, clerical support and amenities to the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs, that we receive notification when and if the Putnam Office would be closed. That following January of 2016, the Division closed the office.  Putnam Veterans Services had to reschedule an estimated 50 Veteran client appointments to other dates at a location in Castle Point, which is about 25 miles from our office in Carmel.  Again, we fought and won to reopen our office, so our Veterans, many of whom are elderly and disabled, would not have to bear the burden of inconvenient, costly and unnecessary travel to meet with a Veterans Service Officer to apply for compensation due to military service.

The punishment continued in 2016 when the Division tried to limit Putnam to one day per week with a Veterans Service Officer.  That was also stopped when we proved the need in Putnam for at least two days per week, if not more.

Now in May of 2017, just weeks before Memorial Day, and the New York State Division, at the insistence of Governor Andrew Cuomo, is keen on denying services to the Veterans of Putnam County again.

In order to save money, the Putnam Office will be closed.  This is nonsense. The Division has to save $300,000 in the current budget.  Notwithstanding that the Governor wants to cut his budget on behalf of Veterans, this closing makes little sense.  Our Veterans Service Officer, Brennan Mahoney, will still be employed 5 days per week by the Division.  He will do all those days at Castle Point alongside another fulltime service officer at the same location.  The Veterans of Putnam, Northern Westchester and Southern Dutchess will now be forced to commute to Castle Point to see Brennan even though there is a second service officer already covering the Castle Point location – and where is the cost savings?  It should also be noted that while the clerk at Castle Point is paid by the State of New York, the clerk in Putnam County still costs the State of New York nothing.

The travel expense and inconvenience to these Veterans has not been considered in the least.  The age of the Veteran or the disability that makes travel difficult has not been weighed in this decision.

Why are these statewide cuts being aimed at the very group of people that the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs is mandated to serve?  To put a fine point on it, why is the Division targeting its own clients?  There are no suggested cut backs in management headcount or salary.  No mention of trying to lower the costs in areas where they rent and or lease office buildings.  Rather than a knee jerk response, why weren’t the cuts more thoughtfully vetted?

Veterans and family members who wish to learn answers to these questions should contact Eric J. Hesse, director, New York State Division of Veterans Affairs at (518) 474-6114.

Historic Putnam County Courthouse Shines Blue in Tribute to Fallen Police Officers during Police Memorial Week

Special Dedication Hosted at Spain Cornerstone Park in Memory of
James J. O’Neill, Founder of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, FOP
CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced today that the historic Putnam County courthouse located on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel, NY, will be lit up in blue in tribute to fallen police officers during Police Memorial Week, May15 – 21, 2017. The courthouse lighting commenced at sundown on Tuesday, May 15th following a special dedication by the Fraternal Order of Police at Spain Cornerstone Park to honor the late James (Jimmy) O’Neill. Jimmy was an icon in the police community and founding president of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, a chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“This tribute serves to honor the memory of Jimmy O’Neill and all law enforcement professionals who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said County Executive Odell. “Putnam County is the safest county in New York State and we owe that distinction to our state and local police officers who put their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve our citizens.”

The Fraternal Order of Police dedicated a bench at Spain Cornerstone Park in memory of Jimmy O’Neill.  The granite bench was installed, including an in memoriam plaque and the Irish Prayer, across from the 9/11 Monument located at the site.

“Jimmy’s legacy as a police officer, advocate for law enforcement professionals, and highly valued contributor to the community is deservedly recognized through this dedication,” said Steve Conner, board member, Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police.  “We are honored to have a lasting tribute in Jimmy’s name located at a place very near and dear to his heart.”

Editor’s note: Please see photo captions for attached images.

Photo 5319 – Pictured from left: Kathy O’Neill and Jimmy O’Neill, wife and son, respectively, of James J. O’Neill

Photo 5282 – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell

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Putnam County Honors U.S. Military with Row of Honor Installation and Annual Pancake Breakfast Kickoff on May 20th

CARMEL, N.Y. – On May 20th at 11am, Putnam County’s annual Row of Honor season will commence at the Carmel VFW Hall, located on Route 52 in Carmel, N.Y. The event will kick off from 9 am to 11am with a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser organized by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council.  All proceeds will go towards Military Suicide Awareness Programs of the Putnam County Suicide Task force. Suggested donation is $10.00 or $15.00 per family. Residents are also encouraged to sponsor a flag to honor our heroes. Please contact Veterans Services to RSVP for the Breakfast and to order your flag, 845-808-1620 or visit www.PutnamCountyNY.gov/ROH.

“We are excited as always to kick off the Row of Honor tradition with our annual pancake breakfast,” said Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County Veterans Services. “In support of the 22 veterans who commit suicide daily and the growing population of veterans who are suffering from combat induced mental illness, we are designating funds raised by this event to support our Military Suicide Awareness programs.”

More than 200 flags, which carry the names of beloved Veterans, will continue to fly until Flag Day, June 14th. With a $100 donation, the name of a loved one can appear on a flag. The proceeds will go toward Military Suicide Awareness Programs of the Putnam County Suicide Task force.

To order your flag, call 845-808-1620 or visit PutnamCountyNY.gov/ROH. Checks can be made payable to the Joint Veterans Council to PC Veterans Service Agency, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.

Mosquito Season Is Here: After Heavy Rain, Water Removal Can Reduce Mosquito Populations

Mosquito Season Is Here: After Heavy Rain, Water Removal Can Reduce Mosquito Populations

BREWSTER, NY—The water pools formed after the heavy rainfall of last weekend may soon be teaming with mosquito larva. Already this season, the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) has found and identified Aedes Japonicus mosquitoes, the type that carries West Nile Virus, chikungunya, dengue, and other viruses.

“We have not had a case of West Nile Virus in the county since 2011,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, but that could change. Taking measures to reduce mosquito populations is very important. Putnam residents are strongly advised to remove all standing water from their property.”  To date only three cases of chikungunya have been reported in Putnam, all since 2014. Four cases of dengue fever have been reported as well, the most recent in 2012. However, these seven cases were all travel related and not instances of locally acquired infections.

Mosquitoes can breed in anything that collects water in the yard, if left for more than four days. Some mosquitoes, including the Aedes Albopictus, prefer small items like a bottle cap, full of water, in which to breed. Only one lone specimen of A. Albopictus has ever been found in Putnam. While this mosquito has shown to be capable of carrying the Zika virus in a lab, it has not proven itself as a reliable carrier in the real world.

“Checking your yard now and after every rainfall is crucial,” says Robert Morris, PE, MPH, Director of Environmental Health at the Putnam County Department of Health. “Items that trap water—old tires, rain gutters, cups or cans, even leaves and tree holes—may provide a breeding spot. Drill holes in tires or dispose of them properly; clean gutters, and overturn all containers, however small.” Contrary to popular belief, smaller pools of water are more productive for mosquito breeding than larger bodies of water, which have natural mosquito predators such as fish or aquatic insects, such as dragonflies. The PCDOH continues to apply larvicide to targeted road catch basins around the county to reduce breeding locales. This season, like last year, mosquito tracking by the PCDOH and the New York State Department of Health will be increased as well.

Preventing bites of all kinds also should be a top priority.  Personal protection measures are advised for any outdoor activities. Shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are reliable methods. Clothing that is factory-treated with the insecticide permethrin has also been proven effective. Insect repellent containing DEET should also be used as well, paying close attention to the directions provided by the manufacturer. Children should not apply this product themselves—it should be applied for them.

The Department of Health’s mission is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit the PCDOH website at www.putnamcountyny.com/health or visit the social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth, and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

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