Putnam County awarded $1.2 million for Danbury-Brewster sewer project

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that the Danbury-Brewster sewer project has been awarded $1.2 million in New York State funding. The project, which extends the Danbury sewer line over the state border and through the Route 6 corridor of Brewster, was granted Empire State Development money through the consolidated funding application (CFA) process.

“Being awarded this funding confirms the significance of the Danbury-Brewster sewer project and its potential long-term impact on Putnam County’s economic vitality,” said Odell. “We have to put the proper infrastructure in place within our commercial districts to ensure a growing business community. In addition, the sewer line would result in equally benefiting improved water quality within the NYC watershed, higher quality of life for area residents and spurring economic growth in the region.”

The Empire State Development funding supports economic development initiatives and projects that create or retain jobs, generate increased economic activity and improve the economic and social viability of local communities.

“I was delighted to learn we were awarded $1.2 million through the competitive CFA process. The Danbury-Brewster sewer project has the potential to be the most cutting-edge and progressive project ever put forth by Putnam County government,” said Leg. Ginny Nacerino, chairwoman of the Putnam County Legislature.  “Bringing this project to fruition will be life-changing for the residents of Putnam County and will help the Route 6 corridor reach its maximum potential.  It will enhance our quality of life by providing convenience and ultimately will help to offset taxes. I am proud to work with my colleagues and the Administration as we continue to serve the residents and deliver projects that support a better Putnam.”

The sewer line will connect 3.5 miles of commercially zoned land to the City of Danbury’s sewer system, which has excess capacity.

“Investing in our local infrastructure will not only support economic development, but also improve quality of life for our residents,” said Senator Terrence Murphy. “As always, it is a pleasure to support the work of County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Putnam County’s community-minded officials and back the CFA process, which is delivering more than a million dollars for this essential construction project. Extending the sewer line along the Route 6 commercial corridor is an important investment that will pay dividends in the years to come.”

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne agreed. “This worthwhile investment will help support any future construction of mid-to-large commercial enterprises here in Putnam County,” he said. “I am pleased to see the state agreed with us and sees the shared benefits of this project for the region.”

The Danbury-Brewster sewer line will also strengthen the Brewster revitalization effort.

“The news of the CFA grant is exciting news for the commercial property owners along the Route 6 corridor,” said Legislator Paul Jonke, District 6, which includes the business district.  “They are a step closer to maximizing the potential of this under-utilized area of Brewster. The news of the grant is a big win for the taxpayers, whom will benefit by increasing the property tax base as well as the potentially increased sales tax revenue.”

Brewster Mayor James Schoenig said, “The Village of Brewster is honored to be part of this cooperative effort transforming Putnam County into a shining 21st century economic engine.”

The creation of the Danbury-Brewster sewer line will bring construction jobs to Putnam County.

“The Northeast Regional Council of Carpenter is excited to see the Route 6 corridor open up between Brewster and Danbury which would bring much needed commerce and job creation to Putnam County,” said council representative Ed Cooke.

News of the award was welcomed by the business community.

“Since the day County Executive MaryEllen Odell was elected into office she has made infrastructure and economic development a priority and it is starting to pay off,” said Jennifer Maher, chairwoman of the Putnam Chamber of Commerce. “I am excited to be working with this administration on other similar projects that will better our ability to attract the businesses we need to offset our property taxes and to improve upon the overall business climate.”

Brewster Chamber of Commerce President Geoffrey Reinwald congratulates the county on receiving the funding. “The Brewster Chamber hopes the development that will take place on Danbury Road will bring more businesses, more people and more jobs,” he said.

The grant application was submitted by Sandra Fusco, acting director, Putnam County Planning, Development and Public Transportation Department, and her staff.

“It is due to Sandra’s efforts to research and apply for this grant, along with her expertise in completing a very tedious and comprehensive application, which enabled the county to achieve this award,” said Odell. “I also want to thank Putnam County Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino, Legislator Paul Jonke as well as Meghan Taylor and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast support of this project.”

The Danbury-Brewster sewer project was one of the initiatives that Meghan Taylor, who is the regional director of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, identified while she served as the president of the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation.

“Seeing progress from the ideas that we planted while I was with the Putnam EDC in 2015 is incredible,” said Taylor. “The Danbury-Brewster sewer line is not only good for Putnam County, but for the Mid-Hudson Region.  It will reverse the decline of Putnam County’s economic stability and provide public sewer to a major thoroughfare. The sewer line supports the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s focus of regionally transformational projects that move the region forward.”

Defend the Holiday program, a joint effort with United for the Troops that will supply comfort packages to those serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces

During this season of giving, we need to remember that our greatest gift is that of freedom. I have launched the Defend the Holiday program, a joint effort with United for the Troops that will supply comfort packages to those serving overseas in the U.S. Armed Forces.

For a $15 donation, a care package will be sent to a soldier overseas on your behalf or that of a loved one of your choice.  You will be given a card acknowledging the gift.

United for the Troops was founded by Jim and Patty Rathschmidt of Mahopac with the help of friends and families whose sons and daughters are serving overseas. Its sole purpose is to make life while away from home a little better for these brave men and women. Some of the items include cookies, DVDs, CDs, snacks, t-shirts, and other food items. Following numerous conversations with service men and women, the group found out that the military provides soldiers with the essentials for day- to-day life and many of them miss the extra amenities that they enjoy while at home. United for the Troops’ goal is to show them that we are proud of them and appreciate all of their efforts in areas of the world.

Cards can be reserved by submitting the form found at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/carepackage/.

Payment for the stocking cards must be sent or brought to Terry Oliver, my

Confidential Secretary.

40 Gleneida Avenue

Carmel, NY  10512

Terry can be reached at 845-808-1001 with any questions.

Please have your card bought by December 21st.

Putnam Accepting Applications for 2018 PILOT Program Student Internship Program

Putnam Accepting Applications for 2018 PILOT Program Student Internship Program

Carmel, NY – Putnam County students can apply for paid and unpaid summer internships in county government through the Putnam Invests in Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) Program as of Friday, Dec. 1.  Now entering its fifth year, the concept of the PILOT Program was first introduced by County Executive MaryEllen Odell and continues to be supported by the Putnam County Legislature.

“I am so proud of the PILOT Program. Our interns work on real projects and are able to get a genuine sense of what it is like to work in one of the 25 county departments.” said Odell. “By having the interns, we are investing in the future workforce of the county government and may inspire some of these youths to potentially be community leaders or county officials, right here in Putnam, later in their lives.”

Since its inception, hundreds of Putnam County youth have participated in the PILOT program.

Eligible participants must be Putnam County residents who are graduate, college, or high school students in their junior or senior year.  Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. For college students a GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

The 2018 Summer PILOT program will run from May through August, depending on student availability.  Internship hours, are typically 28 hours a week, and will be coordinated with Department supervisors.

Online filing instructions are posted on the Putnam County website at www.putnamcountyny.com/internapply. The application consideration deadline for students is Wednesday, January 31, 2017.

For more information, contact Putnam County Personnel, Adriene Iasoni at 845-808-1650 ext. 46625 or adriene.iasoni@putnamcountyny.gov

Odell hosts meet and greet with Danbury Mayor Boughton

BREWSTER, NY – Recognizing the partnership between the City of Danbury and Putnam County, County Executive MaryEllen Odell welcomed Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to Tilly’s Table on Thursday, Nov. 14 to casually meet with Putnam community leaders and officials.

“Mayor Boughton understands that you cannot let boundaries prevent progress,” said Odell. “By crossing the New York-Connecticut state line we are able to work together and improve both communities.”

Odell and her administration have been in talks with officials from Danbury on social and economic issues. Most significantly, the two municipalities are working to extend the Danbury sewer line into Southeast along the Route 6 corridor.

“Living in a silo from your neighbor limits your potential,” said Boughton. “Being able to collaborate with County Executive Odell has ignited new ideas on how we can better serve our residents while being able to save our taxpayers money.”

Boughton, who serving his eighth consecutive term as the mayor of Danbury, set up an exploratory committee to consider a 2018 Connecticut gubernatorial run.

 

Putnam agrees to sue pharmaceutical companies over opioid epidemic

CARMEL, NY –  Determined to battle the cause of the opioid crisis in Putnam, County Executive MaryEllen Odell urged the Legislature to allow the government to join various states and counties across the country in filing lawsuits against both pharmaceutical companies and distributors, which have created the nationwide opioid epidemic through the fraudulent and negligent marketing and distribution of opioid pain medications.

“New York State has been one of the hardest hit states in the nation, with the rate of prescription and heroin overdoses exceeding almost every other state in the country; and Putnam County is not immune from it,” said Odell. “Through our One Army in the War Against Addiction the county has worked with law enforcement agencies and many not-for-profit organizations to fight the battle within our communities through awareness, education and enforcement, but we need to do more.”

She added. “As president of the New York Association of Counties, I think it is imperative that we learn from the tobacco lawsuits if the 1990s and collectively go after the source of the prescription opioid epidemic—the pharmaceutical manufactures and distributors, and hold them accountability for the fraudulent and negligent practices they engaged in which caused immeasurable harm to Putnam County residents and taxpayers.”

At a special full legislature meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 21, the Legislature voted 8-0, with legislator Dini LoBue absent, to have the law firm of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC to represent Putnam County’s interests in the New York Opioid Cost Recovery litigation.

Napoli Shkolnik, which has recently been named co-lead council in the coordinated opioid litigation, has been investigating potential claims on behalf of both individuals and governmental entities against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors. The law firm recommends that claims for deceptive acts and practices, false advertising, public nuisance, fraud, unjust enrichment, as well as other State specific violations be brought against the largest manufacturers and marketers of opioid. Those companies include: Purdue Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Inc., Johnson and Johnson, and Endo Pharmaceuticals, as well as the largest distributors of these drugs, including McKesson Corp., Cardinal health Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp.

The goal of the proposed litigation would be to fully compensate Putnam County for unnecessary cost incurred as a result of prescription opioid abuse, including workplace costs relative to loss of productivity, healthcare costs such as abuse treatment and criminal justice costs.

“I believe everyone has known someone, directly or indirectly, affected by the devastation of opioids,” said Leg. Ginny Nacerino, chairwoman of the Putnam County Legislature.  “The Legislature’s 8-0 support of this resolution speaks volumes to the value we place on the health, safety and welfare of our residents and has little to do with monetary gain.  We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors to fight those responsible for the opioid epidemic which has plagued and devastated our communities.  It is important to raise awareness to the origin, and it is time for those companies to take responsibility.  Unfortunately, the damage created by such negligence and depravity is irreversible, resulting in both pain and suffering and the loss of many lives.  It is truly shameful.”

In addition to Putnam, other New York counties participating in the lawsuit include: Broome, Dutchess, Eerie, Genesee, Nassau, Niagara, Orange, Saratoga, Schenectady, Seneca, Sullivan and Suffolk.

Walker appointed Assistant Secretary at U.S. Department of Energy Odell will not fill deputy position in 2018

CARMEL, NY – Bruce J. Walker has resigned as the Deputy County Executive of Putnam. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Walker, a Mahopac native who lives with his wife, Lisa and their children in Pawling, has been part of County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s administration since she took office on Nov. 11, 2011.

“Words cannot express my gratitude toward Bruce J. Walker for all that he has done for Putnam County. He is a wealth of knowledge and sensibility and he will be truly missed,” said Odell. “Bruce being confirmed as Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Energy is a testament to his skills and insight. The people of Putnam County were fortunate to have him for the past six years.”

Odell will not fill the vacant deputy county executive position in 2018.  “Just as many businesses continue to do more with less, I have decided that to leave the deputy county executive position vacant for 2018,” she said. “I have returned the $175,495 (from salary, benefits, pension and employer expenses) back to the taxpayers.”

As the Assistant Secretary, the focus of Walker’s responsibility will be to provide leadership on a national level to modernize the electric grid, enhance the security and reliability of the energy infrastructure and facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply both domestically and internationally. This is critical to meeting the Nation’s growing demand for reliable electricity by overcoming the challenges of our Nation’s aging electricity transmission and distribution system and addressing the vulnerabilities in our energy supply chain.

PHOTO CAPTION: US Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry swears in Bruce J. Walker, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

Photo courtesy of Secretary Rick Perry’s Facebook page.

Putnam County Government raises over $600 for Domestic Violence Awareness

Supporting the efforts of the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center, County Executive MaryEllen Odell and dozens of Putnam County employees participated in Purple Thursday on Thursday, Oct. 19, by buying special t-shirts and wearing purple to draw attention to domestic violent issues in Putnam. The county employees raised $620 for the nonprofit.

“Raising money through the t-shirt sales, wearing purple and standing outside on the Historic County Courthouse steps during the day drew attention briefly to subject of domestic violence in Putnam,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  “However, the Women’s Resource Center’s work is on-going. This is the least we can do to help bring awareness to the public about the problems too many residents of Putnam face as victims of domestic violence.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and purple is the color that represents domestic violence awareness.

“Putnam County has been a great partner with the Women’s Resource Center and we appreciate them helping to spread our message,” said Ann Ellsworth, executive director, Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center. “By them wearing purple on Purple Thursday it is a reminder to survivors that they are not alone and that they matter.”

The Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center provides advocacy, education and services to the community to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or other related crimes and want or need assistance, please call our 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 845-628-2166.

PHOTO CAPTION: Employees of Putnam County Government wore purple on Purple Thursday to put a spotlight on domestic violence awareness and support the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center.

County Executive Odell unveils proposed 2018 Putnam County Budget

MAHOPAC, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell presented the $155.3 million proposed 2018 county budget to the legislature at a public meeting held at Putnam County Golf Course on Thursday, Oct. 6. The budget, which is within the New York State imposed tax cap, has a net increase of $2.3 million over the 2017 adopted budget, which reflects a 1.5% spending increase.

“It is a challenge every year to develop a budget that keeps within the Albany imposed tax cap while delivering mandated services, providing the quality of life needs of the residents as well as the needs of our employees and retirees; and planning for a fiscally secure future,” County Executive Odell said. “However, because of the efforts this administration puts forth each day we continue to be able to meet that challenge.”

Based on the proposed budget, the average taxpayer whose property is assessed at $277,000 will pay $984 in county taxes in 2018, an increase of $22.

“County Executive MaryEllen Odell unveiled the 2018 tentative budget and once again she did not disappoint,” said Ginny Nacerino, Chairwoman of the Putnam County Legislature.  “For the sixth consecutive year, she has delivered a fiscally sound budget and stayed within the cap.  In addition to fiscal accountability, she places a high priority on social responsibilities, which encompasses all the departments and agencies that contribute to our wonderful quality of life here in Putnam County. As a former legislator, herself, she fully understands and appreciates the tremendous undertaking the Legislature assumes to adopt a responsible budget.  By delivering a fiscally conservative and tight budget, the county executive has provided the Legislature the advantage of working with a solid foundation.  Based on the last five years, I do not anticipate any dramatic changes.  The county is in good shape and that speak volumes to County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s leadership.”

The proposed budget includes: $1.3 million increase in employee and retiree health insurance costs; $1.1 million increase in personnel costs; $753,000 increase in early intervention/preschool education program and $350,000 increase in debt service costs. The budget also reflects a $2.4 million decrease in NYS Pension Expense due to amortization pay off, which resulted in an interest cost savings of $773,000 for the county.

The proposed budget includes: $1.3 million increase in employee and retiree health insurance costs; $1.1 million increase in personnel costs; $753,000 increase in early intervention/preschool education program and $350,000 increase in debt service costs. The budget also reflects a $2.4 million decrease in NYS Pension Expense due to amortization pay off, which resulted in an interest cost savings of $773,000 for the county.

“What this administration does not do is ‘kick the can down the road,’ we develop a plan,” County Executive Odell said. “Since Dec. 31, 2011, our administration, in partnership with the Legislature, has implemented sound debt management practices which reduced County debt.”

The county executive anticipates that the budget will allow Putnam to continue to earn its Moody’s Aa2 bond rating. Odell also noted that the county has reduced its long-term debt by 15% since she came into office in 2011. It has also eliminated its short-term debt of $17.2 million completely.

Seventy percent of the proposed budget, or $107.6 million, consists of the more than 200 mandated programs, which are set by the Federal or State governments with no or very limited input from Putnam County. The other $47.7 million, or 30% of the proposed budget, is made up of quality of life costs which include: Sheriff Department’s road patrol, Office of Senior Resources, retiree health benefits, emergency services, parks and recreation, PART system, and outside agencies.

County Executive Odell unveiled a plan to find potential cost savings for the county while being able to provide the same or improved services to the county’s retiree health benefits. The county is offering an alternative to the New York State Health Insurance Program through Benistar that eligible retirees can voluntarily switch to. Benistar offers a low option and a high option for both individuals and families that cost equal to or less than the current insurance plan. The savings will be shared by the county and the retirees proportional to the contribution. The estimated total savings by offering the Benistar options is $182,181.

More information about the new insurance options will be available to the retirees by mid-October through the Personnel Department.

Property taxes will make up only 27%, or $42.3 million, of the county’s revenue to balance the 2018 proposed budget. Sales tax will be the largest contributor at 38% or $58.5 million. The county departments are expected to generate $26.8 million, or 17%, and State and Federal reimbursements will make up $27.7 million or 18%.

Putnam County Government to Raise Domestic Violence Awareness

CARMEL, N.Y. – Putnam County Government is partnering with The Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center to help promote October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Purple is the color that represents domestic violence awareness.  Purple t-shirts are being sold for $10 each to county employees through the department representatives. Proceeds will benefit the Women’s Resource Center.

Employees are encouraged to wear their t-shirts or other purple clothing and join their colleagues on the steps of the Historic County Courthouse on Thursday, Oct. 19 for a group photo at 11:30 a.m. Those employees that participate will be allotted an extra 15 minutes on to their lunch break.

“Raising money through the t-shirt sales, wearing purple and standing outside on the Historic County Courthouse steps during the day draws attention briefly to subject of domestic violence in Putnam,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell.  “But Women’s Resource Center’s work is on-going. This is the least we can do to help bring awareness to the public about the problems too many residents of Putnam face as victims of domestic violence.”

The Putnam Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center provides advocacy, education and services to the community to create a safe, supportive environment that eliminates violence against women and children and promotes gender equality.

In addition, the Historic County Courthouse is illuminated purple at night for the month of October.

Putnam to Live Stream 2018 Budget Address on Thursday, Oct. 5th

 MAHOPAC, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced today that the Putnam County 2018 Budget Address will be available for live viewing via the county website: putnamcountyny.com/budget2018. The event takes place on Thursday, Oct. 5th at 7 p.m. at the Putnam County Golf Course, located at 187 Hill Street, Mahopac, NY. Those who would like to attend the address in person must reserve a seat via the website: putnamcountyny.com/budget2018.

“We are excited to offer the public the option to remotely view the 2018 Budget Address via live stream so that we reach the widest network of taxpayers as possible,” said County Executive Odell. “Having the presentation available live from the county website demonstrates my administration’s commitment to being efficient and transparent.”

During the 2018 Budget Address, County Executive Odell will discuss her plan to meet the fiscal and social responsibilities of county government, while remaining under the state mandated tax cap.

Preceding the 2018 Budget Address at Putnam County Golf Course will be the Putnam County Market Place from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  The market place showcases nonprofit and other service based organizations that benefit the people of Putnam County.