The Putnam County Shared Services Panel will be conducting three public hearings at which the 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan will be Presented

The Putnam County Shared Services Panel will be conducting three public hearings at which the 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan will be Presented

  1. Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 2 pm Town of Southeast Town Offices 1360 Route 22, Brewster, NY
  2. Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 10 am Putnam County Training & Operations Building 112 Old Route 6, Carmel, NY
  3. Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 7 pm Town of Philipstown Town Hall 238 Main Street, Cold Spring, NY

The purpose of these public hearings is to present and explain the proposals contained in the County-Wide Shared Services Plan and to obtain public input of said Plan.

The 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan for Putnam County can be found in its entirety on the Putnam County Executive’s page of the Putnam County web site located at: www.putnamcountyny.gov

 

National Purple Heart Day

Today is National Purple Heart Day and I invite all of you to attend a special ceremony being held this evening from 7 to 8 p.m. by the New York Riders at the Purple Heart Monument in Putnam County Veteran’s Memorial Park.

On this day, we take the time to honor all Purple Heart recipients, past and present and to remember that all gave some, and some gave all. We have any number of veterans residing within our borders who have received this distinguished medal, the military award ‘sought by none but respected by all.

I am proud that in 2013, Putnam County was the first county in New York State to become a Purple Heart County. I was approached by the late Denis Castelli, who was then County Historian, and William “Willy” Nazario, the Judge Advocate and the Legislative Officer – Dept. of NY of the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 21 respectively, to proclaim the recognition. The designation was approved by the national, state and local organizations of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council.

The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in present use. It was initially created by Gen. George Washington in 1782 as the Badge of Military Merit. It is awarded to any member of the Unites States Armed Services wounded or killed in combat with a declared enemy of the United States.

To further honor our Purple Heart recipients, the Putnam County Historic Courthouse will be lit purple for the remainder of the week.

Metro-North Railroad on-track to meet federal deadlines

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was assured by Metro-North Railroad officials Monday, July 30, that the company will meet the federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) compliance deadline. Railroads have until December 31, 2018, to complete the installation phase of the PTC tasks.

Positive Train Control is a set of highly advanced technologies designed to make rail transportation safer by automatically stopping a train before certain types of accidents occur.

“Putnam County is fortunate to have two Metro-North railroad lines and seven train stations within its borders and many of our residents use them to commute back and forth to work,” said County Executive Odell, who served two terms as the president of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council. “Railroad safety is important, and residents should be informed about the status of the Positive Train Control implementation.”

The four criteria that must be met Metro-North in accordance with the federal mandate are: 1) All hardware installed. 2)All radio spectrum acquired. 3) Over 50% of PTC territory or route miles implemented. 4) All required employee training completed.

According to Catherine Rinaldi, President of Metro-North Railroad, the company is progressing to meet all four criteria. In fact, Metro-North has acquired all the radio spectrum needed to run the system. It has completed 80% of the installation of the required hardware on trains, waysides and offices. Metro-North is currently training its employees on being familiar with PTC and is expected to have this task completed by November 2018. In addition, the Revenue Service Demonstration (RSD) is up and running and among other things has been implemented on the Hudson Line from Tarrytown to Croton‐Harmon.

Railroads are mandated to have full PTC implementation through its network by December 31, 2020.

Blue-Green Algal Blooms Persist; County Opens Beach for Affected Community Residents

BREWSTER, NY— Blue-green algal blooms have dashed many summer plans this year. Dozens of repeated beach closures have disappointed residents who enjoy cooling off in their neighborhood lake on a hot and humid summer day. While funding is coming from New York State to research solutions for the long term, County Executive MaryEllen Odell has taken immediate steps to open the Putnam County beach in Veterans Memorial Park on Gypsy Trail Road in Kent, free of charge to those residents living in affected lake communities.

“We wanted to do something right now for our community members who are dealing with these algal blooms on a daily basis,” says County Executive Odell. “This is a difficult situation. The blooms pose a serious health problem. Swimming, and even boating, can put you at risk.”

“Our public county beach at Veterans Memorial Park has fortunately remained unaffected by the blue-green algal blooms that have plagued many other Putnam beaches,” says Christopher Ruthven, deputy commissioner of parks and recreation for Putnam County. “We’re open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. until Labor Day, and for residents affected by the harmful algal blooms in their community lakes, the usual $8 fee for a day pass is being waived.”

Odell adds, “Being able to use the beach at Veterans Memorial Park provides a silver lining to an unfortunate situation. At the park individuals and families can enjoy the swimming in the lake, relaxing on the beach, barbecuing, hiking the trails, visiting the Veterans Museum or admiring the Gold Star Mothers statue or the military helicopter and tank.”

The increasing number of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Putnam and around New York State is not completely understood. Staff at the Putnam County Department of Health have been busier than ever collecting and sending lake water samples for testing.

“We are working closely with town and beach personnel,” explains Michael Nesheiwat, MD, interim commissioner of health. “They are well-informed and able to quickly recognize these harmful algal blooms. When there is an overabundance, or bloom, of this cyanobacteria, the onsite personnel are able to shut down the beaches directly without a confirmatory visit by the health department. This is important as blooms can present a serious health hazard and these microscopic organisms are toxic to humans and animals if swallowed. At high levels, ingestion may cause nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, along with irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract.

“Needless to say, we are grateful to the County Executive who has stepped in to waive the park fee for residents in the affected communities,” continues Dr. Nesheiwat.

Toxic bacteria are naturally present in low numbers in lakes and streams. However, in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that gets a lot of sunlight, the bacteria can grow quickly and easily, creating a bloom. When this happens, floating scums on the water surface may appear, along with discolored water covering all or portions of a lake.

The Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) continues to monitor the county’s 32 permitted bathing beaches, while also responding to calls from town, village and summer camp personnel. Blue-green algae can range in color from green, blue, brown, yellow, grey, or even red. Contact should be avoided with any discolored water, with or without a floating covering or unpleasant odor. When the water clears, either naturally or by treatment, follow-up water testing must be conducted. Toxins can still be present even after the bloom looks like it has passed.

“After a satisfactory result on a water test, town and beach personnel can re-open the beach,” explains associate public health sanitarian Shawn Rogan. “And we work closely with the towns to reopen as soon as possible. The problem we are seeing more and more of is that the algae can ‘re-bloom’ shortly thereafter, making it necessary to close the beach once again.”

Some towns choose to apply an algaecide, but they have the same precautions as any pesticide.  Treatment methods, if any, are strictly a town decision, and application of an algaecide requires approval by the Department of Environmental Conservation.  Prevention efforts focus on ways to control the level of nutrients the algae receive. These include reducing plant fertilizer use, promoting efficient septic systems operations, and managing storm water. These tactics are supported by the DEC, but much is still unknown about the causes of HABs.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), 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 our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

First Harvest Picked from Tilly Foster Farm Produce to be used at Tilly’s Table and for Seniors

BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was on-hand at Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute in Brewster recently when the first harvest was picked from the county-owned farm. The third-of-an-acre garden is growing over two dozen types of crops that will be used by Tilly’s Table and the Office for Senior Resources.

“The next phase of Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute has become a reality,” Said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We are using the rich soil of the farm to grow fruits, vegetables and plants that can be used by Tilly’s Table for its nightly specials and OSR to enhance the seniors’ meals. As we continue to follow the farm plan we will be able to showcase the diverse uses of the property and allow it to benefit all the people of Putnam County.”

The garden is lined with pumpkins, melons, squash, beets, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis and so much more.

“I am very excited about this. We have put a good team together; they are working well together, and they enjoy what they are doing,” said Chris Ruthven, Deputy Commissioner of Parks. “I am very proud of the product we are producing.”

Tilly’s Table, the restaurant located on Tilly Foster Farm, is purchasing the produce at a fair-market price from Putnam County on a weekly basis. Chef Andre is using the freshly picked fruits and vegetables to create delicious farm-to-table nightly specials for the patrons.

The remaining harvest is being used by the Office for Senior Resources where Sean Sampson uses the farm fresh produce to liven up the lunch offerings at the county’s four Nutrition and Friendship Centers as well as the Meals on Wheels program.

The seniors are enjoying the seasonal additions to the menu. Lorraine Herman of Carmel thinks adding the vegetable grown at Tilly Foster Farm is a great idea.

“I stopped by the Carmel Friendship Center for lunch today and was pleasantly surprised by the delicious lunch that was served – especially the cucumber soup, which everyone raved about,” said Herman. The baby spinach served with the egg salad couldn’t have been fresher or more tender.”

She added, “In looking at the plates that were discarded after the meal, I can tell you there was very little food waste, unlike what it had been prior to implementing this new farm-to-table program.”

Growing crops on the farm has been part of the agricultural plan for the county-owned property since Putnam County took over management of Tilly Foster Farm in 2014.  Tilly’s farmer Donald Arrant started planning for the garden in October. In the spring, Arrant with the help of Lisa Walker, Steve Kessman and Louis Albano began cultivating the land. They then planted seeds from Johnny Seed Company and plants, which were purchased locally from Peterson’s Patterson Greenhouses in Patterson.

In July, the early fruits of their labor were ready to be harvested. The garden has crops that will continue to grow through mid-November, such as carrots and beets, that can be stored and used throughout the winter.

With the success of the early crops, the Tilly Foster Team is already looking to increase the size of the vegetable garden in 2019 as well as grow strawberry and raspberry patches.

Photo Caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell shared in the joy of picking the first vegetables from the garden at Tilly Foster Farm. Pictured (left to right): Donald Arrant, Alex Cyprus, County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Deputy Commissioner of Parks Chris Ruthven, Lisa Walker and Steve Kessman.

Free Use of Veterans Memorial Park for Tonetta Lake Permit Holders While Town Beach Closed

CARMEL, NY – With the blue green algae issue forcing the closure of Tonetta Lake Beach in the Town of Southeast, County Executive MaryEllen Odell, with support from Legislators Joseph Castellano and Paul Jonke, has decided to allow Southeast residents with Tonetta Lake beach passes the ability to use Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park, located on Gipsy Trail Road in the Town of Kent, for free as an alternative while the beach is closed.
“The county has received many requests for a substitute option while their local town beach is closed,” said County Executive Odell. “While this solution does not remedy the blue green algae issue, it provides the residents access to a lake that is open and ready to be used.”

Odell has also offered Kent residents with Lake Carmel permits free use of the beach at Veterans Memorial Park. The beach is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day through Labor Day.

Seniors Moved to Knights of Columbus as Renovations of the Carmel Friendship Center are Underway

CARMEL, NY –  Putnam County MaryEllen Odell announced that the County has begun the renovations of the Carmel Friendship Center at the Donald B. Smith Campus in Carmel. The new configuration of the building will allow additional services, more room for recreational activities, a larger dining area and an updated kitchen facility.

While the work is being done on the building, the nutrition center and recreational activities will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Fair Street in Carmel.

“Putnam County has the fastest growing and largest percentage of senior population in New York State and we need to ensure that we have the ability to properly serve our aging population, so they can live at home longer and healthier,” said County Executive Odell. “Thanks to money from Senator Terrence Murphy we are able to move the administrative offices of the Office of Senior Resources to another building on the campus and reinvigorate the building to better serve the seniors. I also truly appreciate the graciousness of Knights for allowing the seniors to use theie building during our time of renovation.”

Sen. Murphy secured $550,000 in funding from New York State to use toward the revamp.

“One in every four residents in Putnam County is a senior citizen. They are an asset to the community and we rely on them for their wisdom and experience,” said Senator Terrence Murphy. “The renovation will make the building safer, and give it a more modern look, allowing the Center to reach out to and engage more seniors in their quality services and programs.”

The renovations will transform the Center into a state-of-the-art, energy efficient facility with a room for information and technology, as well as an area to expand the Center’s senior programs.

Additional space dedicated for use by seniors include:

  • An improved and expanded exercise area
  • An improved and expanded arts and crafts room
  • New interview and counseling rooms
  • Expanded nutrition counseling rooms
  • Improved pantry and lunch areas
  • And improved access to the building for the handicapped

The construction of the Carmel Friendship Center is expected to take about six months.

Photo caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Senator Terrence Murphy welcomes the seniors to the Knights of Columbus Hall, where lunch will be served and recreational activities will be held while the renovation of the Carmel Friendship Center is underway.

Putnam’s Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers Moves Forward

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County’s lawsuit to hold the opioid manufacturers and distributors responsible for the rampant heroin and opioid abuse and deaths in our communities can proceed after several Motions to Dismiss were rejected in State Supreme Court in Central Islip, NY, on Tuesday, June 19.

State Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo denied several Motions to Dismiss filed by various manufacturers of opioid-related pharmaceuticals.  Putnam County is one of the dozens of New York counties that have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies for deceptive marketing practices, claiming these practices were meant to minimize the addiction risks of opioids. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendant manufacturers fueled statewide and community-based addiction crises through false advertising and deceptive marketing.

“Justice Garguilo’s decision let Big Pharma know that we have a credible cause for filing this lawsuit and those companies will not be able to hide from its share of responsibility and accountability for the opioid crisis behind its high-priced attorneys,” said County Executive Odell. “The opioid crisis has affected far too many Putnam County residents and I am pleased to see that courts agree that our case deserves to be heard.”

Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra, who chairs the Health Committee, agreed.

“The court decision verifies that taking on the pharmaceutical companies is not just a stunt. There are triable issues of fact which should proceed before the State Supreme Court. The effects of opioid addiction and destruction are unquestionable, and have a devastating effect on society,” said Scuccimarra.

Local state representatives are also pleased with Justice Garguilo’s decision.

Senator Terrence Murphy said, “The war against heroin and opioid addiction has been fought on many fronts; in treatment centers, in homes, in schools and now in the courts. The casualties have been the individuals and families whose health and safety have been jeopardized by pharmaceutical manufacturers who care more for profits than people. It is time they were held responsible for pushing poison into our communities.”

Senator Sue Serino said, “The heroin and opioid epidemic has devastated far too many New York communities and we have a duty to ensure that we are doing all we can to stop the scourge. That includes holding those who perpetuate the problem accountable. This decision marks a positive step forward and I commend our local communities for working tirelessly to combat this pervasive problem.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “This is great news in the continued fight to combat the opioid epidemic. Putnam County is on the front lines of this fight to hold Big Pharma accountable for its role in the marketing and distribution of these highly addictive opioid pain medications.”

The court decision was encouraging news for Susan Salomone, Executive Director of Drug Crisis in Our Backyard.

“This is definitely one important hurdle in many that we face,” Salomone said. “Our hope is that justice for all the lives lost is somehow redeemed through this Supreme Court decision. Although we cannot bring our loved ones back we can find ways to use the proceeds from this litigation to help others that are still suffering.”

In addition to the New York counties’ pending action in New York State Supreme Court in Suffolk County, there are hundreds of state and local government cases filed in federal court, consolidated in the Northern District of Ohio.

County Executive Odell has stated that any monetary award given to Putnam County will be given to the nonprofit agencies that help residents battle addictions.

Repaving Complete on First Carmel Route 6 Project

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is thrilled to inform residents that the repaving of Route 6 in Carmel from Reed Memorial Library to Route 312 is complete. The $1.8 million project, which took less than 3 weeks to complete, minimally disrupted the traffic flow of the major throughway because crews worked during the overnights.

“The repaving of Route 6 was an important project to get done for the safety of our residents,” said County Executive Odell.  “I appreciate our state representatives Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, DOT Regional Director Lance McMillian and Paleen Construction for understanding that by moving the construction to the overnights we were able to avoid massive gridlock and keep the Carmel business corridor open.”

The support of Murphy and Byrne made the five-mile project become a DOT priority. They also secured the funding for it.

“Commuters, school buses, and local businesses rely on Route 6, which is one of the most heavily-traveled in the County,” said Senator Terrence Murphy. “Coming off a particularly harsh winter, the improvements made to Route 6 will enhance the quality of life for Putnam County residents and make the road surface safer for all motorists. I want to thank Putnam County Executive Odell, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and the staff at DOT for working together to complete this critically needed project.”

The monies are part of more than $100 million in state funding to repave and enhance roadways impacted by the harsh weather this past winter. Funding will support 84 projects and the renewal of nearly 1,000 lane miles of pavement across the state, including at least one project in every county and New York City.

The repairing and resurfacing of Route 6, from the turn on Willow Road located at the Putnam Trailway hub, and continuing to the intersection of Route 301 in the Hamlet of Carmel, is expected to begin in the late summer/early fall, according to the NYS DOT. It is anticipated that crews will do a majority of the work of the $1.7 million project during the overnight hours as well.

Photo Caption: A before (left side) and after view of Route 6 paving project in Carmel by the Putnam Trailway overpass.

Putnam County Awarded $100,000 for Airport Park Drainage

CARMEL, NY – County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that Putnam County will receive a $100,000 grant through New York’s State and Municipal Facilities Program to conduct drainage improvements to Airport Park in Mahopac. Airport Park is a county-owned property that was leased to the Town of Carmel in 2005 for 99-years. The drainage improvements will, among other things, improve water quality to downstream wetlands and surrounding water bodies, rectify water runoff issues, reducing phosphorous in runoff at Lake McGregor which abuts Airport Park.

“When different layers of government can work together the taxpayers win,” said County Executive Odell. “The Town of Carmel will be doing a major transformation of Airport Park to better serve its residents. Putnam County was able to apply for a state grant that provides a better foundation for the project. By working together, we are able to conduct needed upgrades to the property with funding help from New York State.”

The $100,000 grant will be administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.