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National Day of Prayer, May 1, 2014

April 18, 2014

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
845-808-1001

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, MAY 1, 2014

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is pleased to announce that The Putnam County Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee will host THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER observance on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 12 Noon at the Cornerstone Park in Carmel, New York.  This event is an annual observance created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, signed by President Harry Truman for the purpose of communicating the need for personal prayer for our nation and its leaders.  After a brief program, a light luncheon will be served.  All are welcome to attend. 

For further information please see www.nationaldayofprayer.org

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Veterans Find ‘F.A.V.O.R.’ with Putnam’s Row of Honor

Veterans Find ‘F.A.V.O.R.’ with Putnam’s Row of Honor

The success of Putnam County’s Row of Honor is made possible because of the unwavering support it has received from the veterans community. As a thank you, the county is extending, as part of its Return the F.A.V.O.R. program, a 25 percent discount to those veterans who want to sponsor a flag.

The Row of Honor, 100 American flags lining the shore of Lake Gleneida in the hamlet of Carmel, N.Y. pays homage to the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, law enforcement or emergency services. Done twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the flags serve as a visually striking and poignant reminder of those who have served and those who have died in service to their country.

“The Row of Honor was created by my administration, with help of the Joint Veterans Council, as a way to publicly say thank you to our veterans of yesteryear and today,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “These men and women have given so much to not only our county, but our country, and we want to take any opportunity we can to show our gratitude. By offering veterans a discounted rate on the flag sponsorship through the county’s Return the F.A.V.O.R. Program is one more way we can show our thankfulness.”

The Return the F.A.V.O.R. (Find and Assist Veterans of Record) Program in Putnam County offers discounts and/or complimentary services at participating merchants to any customer that has a FAVOR card. Veterans can obtain a FAVOR card by filing their discharge (DD214) paper with the county clerk’s office.
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The program, which first launched in 2010, has nearly 1,100 veterans living in Putnam, participating and over 200 merchants signed up. 

“Offering this discount for the Row of Honor to FAVOR members just makes perfect sense,” said Deputy County Clerk Michael Bartolotti. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for both the FAVOR Program and the Row of Honor.  Both of these programs were implemented to assist our veteran community and to pay tribute and thanks to the men and women that served in our nation’s armed services.”

The Row of Honor was inaugurated in 2012 as a fundraiser to support various veterans’ projects. The flags were so well received we decided to make the Row of Honor a semi-annual event. This season, money raised will go to support the restoration of the Veterans Chapel located at Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park in Kent.

In addition to the lakeside stream of stars and stripes, there will be flags representing the Fraternal Order of Police as well as sailors, soldiers and airmen that served our country.

Sponsorships for a flag, which will be erected during the first full week in May, can be purchased for $100 each. Members of the Return the F.A.V.O.R. program can purchase flags for $75 each.

Checks should be made out to the Joint Veterans Council and sent to them at Putnam County Veterans Affairs Office, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.  For more information about the Row of Honor, call Mimi at (845) 808-1620.

For more information about the Return the F.A.V.O.R. Program, call Michael Bartolotti at 845-808-1142 ext. 49303.

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Army to be Conducting Aviation Training in Putnam County

CARMEL, N.Y. (April 16) – The United States Army will be conducting aviation urban navigation training in and around Putnam County from Wednesday, May 12 through Friday, May 14.

“The training has been coordinated with the appropriate officials and property owners,” said Suzanne Nagel, deputy public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. “We apologize in advance for any unforeseen disturbances.”

All safety precautions have been taken to prevent unnecessary risk to either the participants or any area residents or their property.

“We are honored that the Army has chosen to do its training in Putnam,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have worked hard over the past three years to have the resources available within Putnam become known on a regional, state, national and international level. Having the Army chose to use Putnam over our surrounding counties shows that are efforts are bearing fruit.”

 

 

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National Public Safety Telecommunicator Week: April 13 – 19, 2014

For the past several years, Public Safety Agencies nationwide have recognized the pivotal role played by telecommunicators, dispatchers, communications operators, radio control personnel, ALL those people, by whatever job title, who utilize telephones, radios, computers and technical skill to provide support to Law Enforcement, Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services and other governmental field personnel.

Each year, the second week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as public safety telecommunicators. In 1991, Congress proclaimed it as a nationally recognized week of recognition.

The Putnam County 911 Communications Center celebrates this year’s National Telecommunicators Week – April 13 – 19 – in honor of their dedicated dispatchers who handle thousands of  9-1-1 calls each month within Putnam County.  They dispatch State Police, Sheriff’s Deputies, Carmel Police, Kent Police, Cold Spring Police, Brewster Police, MTA Police and DEC/DEP Police officers and dispatch the county’s 13 fire departments, four Ambulance Corps. and Medic service to the needs of the public in emergencies.

“The support that these men and women provide to our county’s law enforcement and emergency service agencies is unquestionable,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “They are the first ones to get emergency calls. Their accuracy and quickness can directly impact the outcome. The pressure and stress of the job is high, and the hard work these men and women do every day deserves thanks from all of us.”

This year, Putnam County recognizes their 13 – 911 dispatchers who work

around the clock, all year long, to support their officers, firefighters and EMS workers in the field and help keep the public safe.  The Putnam County Legislature honored the dispatchers with a Proclamation for the diligence and professionalism that keeps Putnam County and its’ citizens safe at legislative meeting held on April 1, 2014.

When you dial 9-1-1 on your home phone or cell, a Putnam 911 dispatcher answers that call – know where you are and stay on the line so they can help get the assistance you need!  Remember 9-1-1 is foremergencies only.

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Putnam County Highway Department Shares Resources and Equipment with Towns and Villages

County Executive MaryEllen Odell
845-808-1001

Putnam Shares Resources and Equipment with Towns and Villages

In a time where every municipality is trying to hold the line on its budget, Putnam County is working with the local towns and villages to share equipment and facilities so the taxpayer does not have to bear the burden of unnecessary redundancy. The county’s latest instance of loaning out its equipment to the Town of Kent.

Kent Highway Superintendent Richie Othmer was talking with County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Legislator Lou Tartaro and Commissioner of Highways & Facilities Fred Pena about the need for his department to rent a tractor trailer for two weeks in order to complete a roadwork project. The rental would have cost Kent $6,000.

Rather than having Kent’s highway department incur unnecessary expenses, it was recommended that the town borrow the county’s Lowboy tractor trailer instead.

“I have been an advocate of sharing resources and equipment since I was a legislator and chaired the Fiscal Vision & Accountability Commission,” said Odell. “We are able to spend less and save money for the taxpayers by sharing services and equipment. We cannot look at each municipality as an island unto itself. We are like a family and have to help each other out whenever possible. ”

According to Pena, sharing the county’s equipment and manpower with the towns and villages is a common occurrence in Putnam.

“This is the equivalent of going to your neighbor and asking to borrow his chainsaw or other piece of equipment that he might own but not use all of the time,” said Pena. We do everything from sharing equipment or manpower to equipment and manpower. We do make sure that there is an Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) in place to define the scope of the project and who is responsible for the equipment and material.”

Othmer said being able to have this type of partnership with the county is helpful and fiscally responsible.

“The trailer would have cost me $6,000 to rent for the two weeks I needed it. Instead, I was able to save $6,000 for the Kent taxpayers because the county was willing to loan the department theirs,” Othmer said. “It is a good partnership that benefits the taxpayers.”

Tartaro is looking for other opportunities for the county to assist his constituents in Kent as well as other towns. “Partnerships between the county and the towns really benefit the taxpayers who I think appreciate out-of-the-box thinking like County Executive MaryEllen Odell encourages instead of government just raising taxes and bonding projects.” Tartaro said. “The roof of Kent’s salt shed collapsed this past winter. It was the second time in three years that it has done it. The town does not have the money to build a new facility so I am exploring the possibility of the county allowing Kent to share the use of its salt shed on Fair Street.”

The county already shares the use of its salt sheds with the towns of Carmel and Putnam Valley.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is linking mandate tax relief in 2015 to the coordination of shared services between local governments.

“We have been implementing the idea of shared services since I took office,” said Odell. “We did not wait to join the bandwagon. Instead, we have been in the forefront of consolidation and shared services as a way to keep taxes low and staying under the tax cap”.

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David Churchill,  Town of Kent Highway Department, Fred Pena, Commissioner of the Putnam County Highway and Facilities, MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive, Richard Othmer, Kent Highway Supervisior, Lou Tataro, Putnam County Legislature, Pat Johnson, Town of Kent Highway Department.

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Putnam Legislature Overwhelmingly Approves Contract with CSEA Local 8150 Negotiated by Odell Administration

County Executive MaryEllen Odell
845-808-1001

Putnam Legislature Overwhelmingly Approves Contract with CSEA Local 8150 Negotiated by Odell Administration

The Putnam County Legislature overwhelmingly approved the contract with CSEA Local 1850 on Tuesday, April 1 at the regular monthly meeting with seven legislators voting in favor of the contract and two legislators abstaining due to possible conflicts of interest. No legislator voted against the agreement.

The proposed contract back dates to 2012 and runs through 2016. The CSEA union represents the largest group of county employees and includes health and social services, highway and clerical staff.

I am so pleased that we have finally been able to agree to terms with the CSEA,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We are proud of our workforce and appreciate their dedication to the county. They truly are the backbone of the county. This agreement is fair to both our CSEA employees and our property taxpayers that pay the bill.”

In the agreement the workers would not get a raise in pay for 2012 or 2013. A $500.00 payment will be given in 2014 and then again in 2015. Also in 2015 the union members will receive a 1.5 percent raise on top of the payment. A 2 percent raise has been agreed on for 2016. The contract has a total increase of 3.5 percent over the 5 years. The previous contract with the CSEA, which was negotiated before Odell became county executive, realized a 16.5 percent increase from 2007-2011.

Additionally in the new contract, union members would now have an alternative discipline procedure made available to them designed to help improve productivity.

“With unfunded mandates, the property tax cap and the economic downturn all affecting our budget, Putnam County has been like most families, and has had to do with less for the past few years,” Odell.  “As a result of programs we have been able to implement to generate additional revenue for the county and signs of an improved economic condition in the region, we are able to agree to reasonable gestures of good faith and future salary increases.”

CSEA Putnam County Unity 8150 President Janet Gomez-Canaday also thinks the agreement balances the needs of the union members with those of the taxpayers. “after working since 2011 to reach this agreement, we are pleased to have a deal that is fair to both our members and Putnam County taxpayers,” said Gomez-Canaday. “With our members doing so much more with less, it will provide some much-needed stability. I appreciate County Executive Odell’s leadership in reaching a resolution after a long period of negotiations and I am grateful for the expertise of CSEA Chief Negotiator Glenn Blackman and our hardworking CSEA negotiating team.”

Legislator Ginny Nacerino, who chairs the personnel committee, appreciated the union members understanding of how the economic climate has changed, “Working in a school district, I know that raises of years ago are just not feasible anymore,” she said. “I am glad that the union members understand the impact of these numbers in today’s economic climate and all that we are faced with as a county. I am glad that everyone is happy and the democratic process prevailed”

“I commend County Executive Odell and the union for reaching a fair and fiscally responsible contract.,” said  Legislature Chairman Carl Albano. “This is a prime example of all sides working together in these difficult times to reach the best results for all. We are moving the county in a positive direction.”.

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Pictured :  Janet Canaday – CSEA Unit 8150 President and MaryEllen Odell, County Executive

 

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Public Meeting for Tilly Foster Farm Moved to Paladin Center on Saturday, April 5th

 

MaryEllen Odell
845-808-1001

 

Public Meeting for Tilly Foster Farm Moved to Paladin Center 

Please be advised that the third public meeting about the comprehensive plan development for Tilly Foster Farm that is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and end at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5th,  has been moved from the TOPS Building at the Donald B. Smith Campus to the auditorium of the Paladin Center, located at 39 Seminary Hill Road in Carmel. (formally Guide Post) 

 

The public is encouraged to attend.

 

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Putnam County Launches ‘Operation Smooth Streets’

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

Putnam County Launches ‘Operation Smooth Streets’

On Friday, March 28th at a kick-off meeting with the Highway Superintendents for the majority of the Towns and Villages in Putnam County; County Executive Odell, Putnam County Highway and Facility Commissioner and various key elected officials launched “Operation Smooth Streets,” an aggressive and innovative program to improve the quality of roadways in Putnam County.

“Our roads took a terrible beating this winter,” said Odell. “The intense freeze and then the thaw on top of the amount of salt that had to be applied to the streets left many roadways damaged. We have launched Operation Smooth Streets to not only provide our residents a one-stop place to notify local municipalities about road damage but to also allow a method for the county, town and village highway departments to gather and share information that can be used to determine underlying problems and collectively go after funding.”

Residents can now report street defects, such as potholes, drainage issues, cave-ins, sinkholes or cracking, through the county website at www.putnamcountyny.gov/potholes or by emailing potholes.putnam@putnamcountyny.gov. Using the easy form the public can tell the officials where a problem is located. The form will then be emailed out to the appropriate agency and the person who submitted the issue will be included in the communication.

“Constituents don’t care if a road is a state, county or local road, they just want it fixed,” said Southeast Councilwoman Lynn Eckardt, who attended a meeting hosted by the county on the new initiative. “By being included in the emails with the highway departments the residents will be able to know what agency is taking care of the problem. It provides accountability for the highway departments and the individual will have input and be aware of the process.”

In addition to the forms submitted by the public, the highway departments will also be tracking the work that is being done by their agencies and sharing the information with the county.

“The research I have done on the issue has shown me that the cities that have been most productive in their approach toward fixing the issues have taken a collective approach, said Odell who is a full voting member of the NYMTC (New York Metropolitan Transportation Council). “I think for each of the municipalities to be talking about their road repairs is a whisper, but if they join together our voices are much stronger that is why we launched Operation Smooth Streets.”

As a collective voice the county and local municipalities can lobby state and federal representative for infrastructure dollars including a portion of the $40 million allocated in the New York State 2014 – 2015 budget agreement to help fix potholes.

“I commend Putnam County for doing this,“ said Ed Brancati, district director of Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, “To have one clearinghouse to identify where the problem spots are in Putnam and to be able to identify the priority areas on that list is a help.  One of the things we are also talking about is pulling together all of our state legislators throughout the 18th congressional district to say here is our list of priorities, we need to you argue collectively in Albany as one voice.”

Brancati noted that the Buffalo region and Long Island have been very successful in getting infrastructure dollars because their representatives come together as a united voice.

“Certainly the county executive having a voice and a vote on NYMIC is crucial, because the way they operate they tend to be more focused downstate and in the city,” Brancati added.” So having a strong voice for the county will be a big help.”

Brancati also explained that Rep. Maloney, who is on the house transportation committee is working on a 5-year transportation bill that would provide money for transportation needs for five years that would be given to the states and distributed to the counties and municipalities.

Pena, who will be leading the efforts for the county, thinks Operation Smooth Streets will ultimately improve the quality if the roads countywide.

“County Executive Odell has been tremendously supportive of the Putnam County Highway initiatives and our efforts to improve the condition of county roads, said Pena. “She has expanded her support of roads with Operations Smooth Streets, where the county now has a web-based way to report road issues. In addition, the county executive has brought members from state and towns to meet with our representatives to advocate for additional funding needed to maintain our infrastructure”.

He added. “It is extremely important that we, as a community, work together to have county wide visibility of infrastructure issues and advocate for additional funding together.  We cannot lose focus of our deteriorating infrastructure.”

“The cost of paving is going up and we need road money,” said Southeast Highway Superintendent Michael Bruen. “In order to properly take care of our roads and highways you need to be proactive. This plan that is being spearheaded by County Executive MaryEllen Odell could really assist us not only now but for our long term success.”

“This is a good idea, said Putnam Valley Town Supervisor Bob Tendy. “There is no downside to this.”

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Public Contributes to Putnam’s Vision of Tilly Foster Farm

The next phase of Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster was discussed during the second public meeting that was held on Thursday, March 27 at the TOPS building in Carmel. About 50 members of the public joined the Tilly Foster subcommittee chairmen in an open dialogue about what the county should do with the 199-acre property.

Tilly Foster Farm is a Putnam County owned property and facility that fosters financial, environmental, social and historical stewardship through a variety of program offerings by means of public-private partnerships. It was bought by Putnam County using money from the East of Hudson (EOH) Water Quality Funds in 2002. In buying the farm, Putnam was required to establish a conservation easement with the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC). The conservation easement is a legally binding agreement which places permanent restrictions in order to protect certain natural resources on the property.

“The objective of this meeting is to begin the process of brainstorming ideas within the 11 respective sub committees and to compile those ideas into a format that can be submitted to the Core Team in order to provide a framework for the next public meeting,” said Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker, who is chairing the Tilly Foster Core Team.

After Walker gave a brief overview of what has already been done and the plan moving forward, the subcommittees broke off into two groups and the residents were able to choose which meeting they wanted to participate in. The Business/Economic Development, Grant Opportunities, Historical, Parks & Recreation, Tourism and Transportation subcommittees met in Room 1. In Room 2 the Agriculture, Education, Equestrian, Health, Infrastructure and Soil & Water subcommittees met.

Both groups discussed the importance of coming up with ideas that would make the farm self-sustaining. Bringing in a farm-to-table restaurant, creating snowshoeing and cross country skiing trails, community farming and garden options, hosting education programs, equestrian boarding, establishing historic museums as well as hosting a farmers market and other events were all suggested as possible uses of the farm.

Problems such as the lack of public bathrooms and parking were also identified.

“I believe the meetings were very productive and successful,” said Walker. “To have the participation of 50 people from the community who are passionate about what happens at Tilly Foster in the room with experts we have asked to assist us was a great thing. A lot of ideas were generated and the information was all written down for the core team to go over.”

Click on videos to watch the meetings.

People interested in learning more about the farm should visit the County website at: http://www.putnamcountyny.gov/TillyFoster/. Emails from those wishing to volunteer on one or more of the subcommittees should be sent to: TillyFoster@PutnamCountyNY.gov

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Putnam County Reaches Contract Agreement with CSEA Workers

Mary Ellen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

March 28, 2014

Putnam County Reaches Contract Agreement with CSEA Workers

After years of negotiations, Putnam County government has reached a tentative agreement with its CSEA union workers from Local 8150. The proposed contract back dates to 2012 and runs through 2016. The CSEA union represents the largest group of county employees and includes health and social services, highway and clerical staff.

“I am so pleased that we have finally been able to agree to terms with the CSEA,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We have our workforce and appreciate their dedication to the county. They truly are the backbone of the county.”

In the agreement the workers would not get a raise in pay for 2012 or 2013. A $500.00 payment will be given in 2014 and then again in 2015. Also in 2015 the union members will receive a 1.5 percent raise on top of the payment.  A 2 percent raise has been agreed on for 2016.

Additionally, union members would now have an alternative discipline procedure made available to them.

“With unfunded mandates, the property tax cap and the economic downturn all affect our budget, Putnam County has been like most families, and has had to do more with less for the past few years,” said Odell. “As a result of programs we have been able to implement to generate additional revenue for the county and signs of an improved economic condition in the region, we are able to agree to reasonable gestures of good faith and future salary increases.”

CSEA Putnam County Unit 8150 President Janet Gomez-Canaday thinks the agreement balances the needs of the union members with those of the taxpayers.

“After working since late 2011 to reach this tentative agreement, we are pleased to have a deal that is fair to both our members and Putnam County taxpayers,” said Gomez-Canaday. “With our members doing so much more with less, it will provide some much-needed stability in the workforce once the contract is approved by the Legislature. I appreciate County Executive Odell’s leadership in reaching a resolution after a long period of negotiations and I am grateful for the expertise of CSEA Chief Negotiator Glenn Blackman and our hardworking CSEA negotiating team.”

A special meeting of the Putnam County Legislature’s Personnel Committee to consider the agreement has been set for Monday, March 31. The contract will be finalized if the Putnam County Legislature approves it during its regular monthly meeting on April 1.

Putnam County continues to negotiate with the Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA) in hopes of coming to an agreement in the near future.