PUTNAM DA KEEPS KENT POLICE OFFICERS SAFER WITH THE PURCHASE OF NEW BODY ARMOR VESTS

CARMEL, NEW YORK – October 5, 2017: Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy announced today that he has used money from the District Attorney Asset Forfeiture funds and Safe Street Grant funds to purchase five body armor vests for the Town of Kent Police Department.

Tendy said that “over the past year, various law enforcement agencies have contacted my office and have put in requests for equipment to help in their assignments. Chief Alex DiVernieri contacted my office and said that he could really use these vests—they are so important and can save lives. I agreed right away.”

Chief DeVernieri stated that “the safety of our officers is paramount. I want to thank DA Tendy for purchasing these vests for our officers and providing them with the tools they need to stay safe.”

In the past year, Tendy has used grants and asset forfeiture funds to provide simulator training pistols, body armor vests, and electronic devices to law enforcement agencies working in and for Putnam. “That’s what the money is for, to help the deputies, police officers, and troopers do their job safely and effectively,” Tendy said. “We are going to do a lot more of it. Anything we can do to help, we will do it.”

17-021 – PUTNAM DA PRESS RELEASE-Kent PD Vests

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.

Public Health Summit VII Draws Record Crowd

BREWSTER, NY— Breaking previous attendance records, 85 public health partners from 48 different community agencies convened at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) last Thursday, September 7, for the seventh annual public health summit. Unlike previous years, the 2017 event focused on a single issue, health equity, and how by building a culture of equity, rather than equality, community health can be improved. Organized by the Putnam County Department of Health with support from Putnam Hospital Center, the event brought together community leaders, public health partners and residents to start a conversation about putting an equity “framework” into action.

“So much of health happens outside our walls,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers, as she welcomed the group. “It comes from who we hang out with, where we live and where we work.” These social factors determine an individual’s health as much as, maybe more than, what is passed on through a person’s genes. It is these “social determinants of health” in part that account for the fact that the U.S. ranks 28 out of 43 developed nations in the world for life expectancy, despite spending significantly more money per person on health care.
County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly, interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, and Commissioner Michael Piazza of the department of social services and mental health, were among the community leaders in attendance. County Executive Odell spoke of her administration’s challenge to balance social and fiscal responsibilities while state-mandated programs are being defunded and vulnerable populations such as veterans are being negatively impacted. Mr. Kelly, who assumed leadership of Putnam Hospital just one year ago, applauded Putnam for its community partnerships, stronger than all he witnessed in his thirty years of health care experience.

“Health equity is about determining what an individual, or particular population needs, and then providing that, rather than simply providing the same or equal service to everyone.” said Dr. Nesheiwat. “In public health, we’re doing this when we bring our flu immunization clinics into schools, or to segments of the community where they are really needed.”
Epidemiologist Erin Pascaretti spoke about the collaborative approach labeled “Health in All Policies,” which encourages all sectors to incorporate health considerations into their decision-making. The tactic was endorsed earlier this year by the New York State (NYS) Governor’s Office with a similar plan named “Health Across All Policies,” and a heightened focus on creating age-friendly communities and policies, given the state’s rapidly aging population. The concept accounts for the reality that many social determinants of health are the responsibility of non-traditional health partners, such as housing, transportation, education, air quality, parks, criminal justice, employment and energy agencies.

Keynote speaker Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, senior director of care coordination and wellness at Open Door Family Medical Centers, reported how successful the federally qualified health center has been not only in providing a “medical home” for patients, but also incorporating behavioral health integration specialists into their care plans. For example, Brewster Open Door has increased its rates for depression screening with follow-up from 39 percent in 2013 to 69 percent so far in 2017. This was a needed service for the Putnam population, given the County’s focus on addiction issues, suicide prevention and the high reported rates of binge drinking.

The second part of the summit consisted of viewing a series of clips from “Unnatural Causes,” the acclaimed PBS documentary series. Each clip was preceded by provocative questions, and followed by an interactive discussion. Led by Barbara Ilardi, supervising public health educator at the health department, the session provided eye-opening statistics of our health care system and a segue for the next health equity event on Tuesday, October 17, at Putnam Hospital Center. Titled “Blueprint for Health Equity,” the full-day experience is being organized by HealthlinkNY Community Network, a NYS Department of Health Population Health Improvement Program grantee.

Previous summit gatherings have taken a more task-oriented approach, focusing on the Community Health Improvement Plan, known simply as “the CHIP,” and its priority areas of preventing chronic disease and promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse. However, health funders and partners are realizing that the social determinants of health must be factored in first, if true community health improvement and reduction of health care costs are to be achieved.

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.

Time to Stand Up for America Odell orders installation of Row of Honor, calls for an assembly of patriots at Cornerstone Park in Carmel

PLEASE NOTE THE REVISED LOCATION AT CORNERSTONE PARK:

CARMEL, N.Y. – Putnam County MaryEllen Odell is calling for residents to Stand Up For America. She has ordered the immediate installation of the county’s Row of Honor along Lake Gleneida in Carmel, N.Y. On Sunday, Oct. 1, Odell is asking for the public to join her AT CORNERSTONE PARK 1 FAIR ST CARMEL, at 10 a.m. where she will have the National Anthem played and together they can stand in unity for America.

On Sunday, Sept. 24, several football teams permitted players to kneel during the National Anthem in protest. Then all but one player of the Pittsburgh Steelers remained in the locker room during the National Anthem. Only Alejandro Villanueva who is the team’s offensive tackle, stood outside of the tunnel entrance and held his hand over his heart. Villanueva is a West Point graduate and a former Army Ranger who served three tours of Duty in Afghanistan and is the recipient of Bronze Star medal for Valor and for Overseas Services.
“This isn’t about race, this is about respect,” said Odell. “Respect for our Veterans. This is about honoring and standing in unity with all those who have sacrificed themselves to protect the safety of others.”

“Standing during the National Anthem is not about anything political,” said Odell. “It is about paying respect to all the men and women who have and continue to risk their lives for our freedoms. Freedom isn’t free and the very least one could do is stand for the National Anthem every time it is played.”

Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County’s Veteran Service Agency agrees with Odell’s stance on the National Anthem.

“A few years ago, the US Supreme Court made a mistake by ruling that burning the American Flag was free speech. As a Veteran I vehemently disagreed,” said Rohde. “The learned jurists got that wrong. The disrespect that some NFL players are displaying is as vile as the burning of the American Flag. Now they are claiming that they do not mean to disrespect Veterans and Service Members. If you disrespect our National Anthem you have disrespected everyone who ever wore a uniform of the US military.”

 

Putnam County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day Scheduled for Saturday, Oct 7

BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County will hold a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Day for Putnam County residents on Saturday, October 7. The Putnam County Department of Health and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are co-sponsoring the FREE event, scheduled from 9 am to 12 noon (rain or shine) at the Donald B. Smith County Government Campus located at 110 Old Route 6 in Carmel. Pre-registration is required.

Improper storage or disposal of hazardous waste poses a health risk to residents and their families. For this reason, the HHW Collection Day event continues to be maintained in the budget by County Executive MaryEllen Odell as an opportunity for Putnam residents to safely dispose of toxic materials such as: household cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, oil-based paint (not latex), solvents, thinners, mothballs, rodent poisons, gasoline, kerosene, small propane tanks (up to 20 pound size), etc. For a more complete list of acceptable items, see “Special Wastes” under “Recycling” on the Green Putnam webpage at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/green-putnam/.

Disposal items must be labeled and identifiable to be accepted. Items not accepted include: water-based paints (latex), used oil, lead-acid batteries, plastic bags, batteries, tires, electronic waste or any materials from commercial establishments. Materials packed into garbage or lawn bags will also not be accepted. Latex paints can be discarded by routine means, after they have been dried out.

Call early to reserve a spot. The Putnam County Department of Health number is (845) 808-1390 ext. 43150 for questions or to pre-register.

For information regarding electronic waste disposal, call your local town. Please note that household hazardous waste items are not accepted at the town electronic waste drop-off locations.

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.

Putnam Replenishes its Fleet with Eight New Buses

In efforts to ensure passenger safety and maximize efficiencies, County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that Putnam recently added eight new buses to its fleet, allowing older buses to retire.

“Updating our buses allows us to better serve the public,” said Odell. “Newer vehicles are less prone to breakdowns and are better to accommodate the needs of our ridership. They help us to meet our fiscal and social responsibilities to our residents.”

The new buses have led lighting, are more comfortable, less noisy and are more fuel efficient.  In addition, each bus has a wheelchair lift to accommodate persons with disabilities.  The new buses are also better for the environment because they replace inefficient diesel buses.

With the latest additions, the buses traversing the fixed routes are all uniform.

The older buses that will be decommissioned have over 200,000 miles on them.

The buses were deployed on every route in mid-June with a positive response from riders and drivers alike.

Photo Caption: Several of the new buses that have been added to the Putnam County fleet.

PCDOH Schedules Three Fall Public Flu Clinics

 BREWSTER, NY— Predicting how severe the next flu season will be is always part guessing game. Experts usually look at what happens in the Southern hemisphere, where the flu season comes first. Based on that, the forecast for the upcoming flu season in Putnam, starting in October and running through next spring, is that it will be worse than last year’s.

Three public flu clinics are scheduled for the fall. Hosted by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH), the first clinic is Monday, September 25, at the Carmel Fire Department, Route 52 and Vink Drive in Carmel. The second is on Wednesday, October 18, at the Garrison Fire Department, 1616 Route 9; the third is Monday, October 23, at Carmel Fire Department again. The health department’s skilled and experienced public health nurses will be giving flu shots at each site from 2 to 6:30 p.m.

“Early vaccination offers the best protection,” says Michael Nesheiwat, MD, Interim Commissioner of Health. “Antibodies take about two weeks to develop, so receiving your shot early means your protection starts sooner and reduces your risk of becoming sick. Flu shots are important for other reasons as well. You save money on medical and prescription costs, and you avoid being absent from work. From a public health standpoint, flu immunization is important because it provides what we call ‘herd immunity,’ and those who can’t be vaccinated because they are too young, or have a specific medical condition, are protected as well. It is the right thing to do.”

Certain people need to be vaccinated. They include pregnant women, children 6 months through 18 years of age, people over 50 years of age, and those with chronic (long-lasting) medical conditions and those who live with them. All these groups may have serious health problems if they get the flu themselves, or they may cause serious problems for others. Health care workers are also required to get the flu vaccine in order to protect their patients.

The clinics are open to all Putnam County residents 18 years of age and older. (Proof of residency is required.) The vaccination fee is $25 for residents under 65 years of age. Those 65 years and older, or with a Medicare card, can receive the vaccine free of charge. High-dose flu vaccine is being offered for seniors, aged 65 years and older, as studies show this vaccine is more effective for this population. Nasal FluMist will not be available at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pneumonia vaccine will also not be available through the Health Department’s public flu clinics.

Appointments are not necessary, but a signed “Seasonal Influenza Consent Form” is required. Forms are available on the health department’s immunization page on Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/health/immunization under “Flu Vaccine.”

In order to streamline the registration process, people are encouraged to print and complete the form, and bring it with them to the clinic. The forms will also be available at the clinics.

More public flu clinics may be held later this year. Any future dates will be announced on the health department’s website and through social media. Flu vaccination is also offered by the Health Department in all school districts this fall for students and staff only. Check the school calendar or with the school nurse for details of these school-based clinics.

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.

Public Health Summit VII Draws Record Crowd

BREWSTER, NY— Breaking previous attendance records, 85 public health partners from 48 different community agencies convened at Putnam Hospital Center (PHC) last Thursday, September 7, for the seventh annual public health summit. Unlike previous years, the 2017 event focused on a single issue, health equity, and how by building a culture of equity, rather than equality, community health can be improved. Organized by the Putnam County Department of Health with support from Putnam Hospital Center, the event brought together community leaders, public health partners and residents to start a conversation about putting an equity “framework” into action.

“So much of health happens outside our walls,” said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers, as she welcomed the group. “It comes from who we hang out with, where we live and where we work.” These social factors determine an individual’s health as much as, maybe more than, what is passed on through a person’s genes. It is these “social determinants of health” in part that account for the fact that the U.S. ranks 28 out of 43 developed nations in the world for life expectancy, despite spending significantly more money per person on health care.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam Hospital Center President Peter Kelly, interim Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD, and Commissioner Michael Piazza of the department of social services and mental health, were among the community leaders in attendance. County Executive Odell spoke of her administration’s challenge to balance social and fiscal responsibilities while state-mandated programs are being defunded and vulnerable populations such as veterans are being negatively impacted. Mr. Kelly, who assumed leadership of Putnam Hospital just one year ago, applauded Putnam for its community partnerships, stronger than all he witnessed in his thirty years of health care experience.

“Health equity is about determining what an individual, or particular population needs, and then providing that, rather than simply providing the same or equal service to everyone.” said Dr. Nesheiwat. “In public health, we’re doing this when we bring our flu immunization clinics into schools, or to segments of the community where they are really needed.”

Epidemiologist Erin Pascaretti spoke about the collaborative approach labeled “Health in All Policies,” which encourages all sectors to incorporate health considerations into their decision-making. The tactic was endorsed earlier this year by the New York State (NYS) Governor’s Office with a similar plan named “Health Across All Policies,” and a heightened focus on creating age-friendly communities and policies, given the state’s rapidly aging population. The concept accounts for the reality that many social determinants of health are the responsibility of non-traditional health partners, such as housing, transportation, education, air quality, parks, criminal justice, employment and energy agencies.

Keynote speaker Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, senior director of care coordination and wellness at Open Door Family Medical Centers, reported how successful the federally qualified health center has been not only in providing a “medical home” for patients, but also incorporating behavioral health integration specialists into their care plans. For example, Brewster Open Door has increased its rates for depression screening with follow-up from 39 percent in 2013 to 69 percent so far in 2017. This was a needed service for the Putnam population, given the County’s focus on addiction issues, suicide prevention and the high reported rates of binge drinking.

The second part of the summit consisted of viewing a series of clips from “Unnatural Causes,” the acclaimed PBS documentary series. Each clip was preceded by provocative questions, and followed by an interactive discussion. Led by Barbara Ilardi, supervising public health educator at the health department, the session provided eye-opening statistics of our health care system and a segue for the next health equity event on Tuesday, October 17, at Putnam Hospital Center. Titled “Blueprint for Health Equity,” the full-day experience is being organized by HealthlinkNY Community Network, a NYS Department of Health Population Health Improvement Program grantee.

Previous summit gatherings have taken a more task-oriented approach, focusing on the Community Health Improvement Plan, known simply as “the CHIP,” and its priority areas of preventing chronic disease and promoting mental health and reducing substance abuse. However, health funders and partners are realizing that the social determinants of health must be factored in first, if true community health improvement and reduction of health care costs are to be achieved.

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.