Independent Auditors Presentation

PFK O’Connor Davies, the Independent Accounting Firm hired by the Legislature to Audit the Putnam County Financial Statements, presented their audit results of the Fiscal Year ended 12/31/17 to the Audit & Administration Committee on 8/23/18.

The firm presented the County’s results of operations, indicating that a strong balance sheet was achieved through conservative fiscal accounting and budgeting practices. Among the highlights presented by the auditing firm:

  • The County received an unmodified (Clean) Audit opinion
  • The County maintains a Aa2 Bond Rating from Moody’s – “Obligations judged to be of high quality and subject to low credit risk.”
  • The County has eliminated short term debt and reduced long term debt saving taxpayers over $ 100,000 per year in interest expense
  • The County has received the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association(GFOA) for excellence in financial reporting.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell stated, “We are pleased that the financial community has recognized Putnam County’s strong, fiscally conservative management practices.” She also acknowledged the Certificate of Achievement in Financial reporting, commenting, “This award indicates that we report on our finances in an open and transparent manner.” Finally, Odell credited her partnership with the County Legislature for keeping Putnam County on strong financial footing. “ We work with the Legislature, Elected Officials, Department Heads and all County employees to be good fiscal stewards of our taxpayer funds.”
Chairman of the Legislature Joseph Castellano was also pleased, stating, “Our high bond rating, combined with our strong system of internal controls, has saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest expense and provides confidence that County funds are spent and accounted for in a fiscally prudent manner.”

Putnam County Passport Day Saturday, September 22 2018

In recognition that September is “National Passport Awareness Month” and the upcoming holiday travel season, Putnam County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti is hosting a “Third 2018 Putnam County Passport Saturday” at the OFFICES OF THE PUTNAM COUNTY CLERK, 40 GLENEIDA AVENUE – ROOM 100, CARMEL, NEW YORK 10512 on Saturday, September 22, 2018 from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm to provide passport information to U.S. citizens and to accept passport applications. County Clerk Bartolotti is holding this event as a convenience to our customers who need to obtain a passport in time for the busy holiday travel season. County Clerk Bartolotti can be reached at 845-808-1142 X49301 for any questions or concerns regarding obtaining a U.S. Passport or traveling abroad.

U.S. citizens must present a valid passport book when entering or re-entering the United States by air. U.S. citizens entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda at land borders and sea ports of entry must present a passport book, passport card, or other travel documents approved by the U.S. government.

Information on the cost and how to apply for a U.S. passport is available at the Putnam County Clerk’s Website located at www.putnamcountyny.gov . U.S. citizens may also obtain passport information by phone by calling the Putnam County Clerk’s Office at 845-808-1142 X49273.

  • Event: “Third 2018 Putnam County Passport Saturday”
  • Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018
  • Time: 9:00 am until 1:00 pm
  • Where: Office of the Putnam County Clerk
    40 Gleneida Avenue – Room 100
    Carmel, New York 10512

National Preparedness Month Observed for Fifteenth Year

Helping Children Recover Remains Priority in Putnam

BREWSTER, NY —The tornadoes that touched down in Putnam County this past May are just one example of how unexpected, disastrous events can occur. Preparing for these types of occurrences is what National Preparedness Month is all about. This year, the 15th annual September observance once again serves as a call-to-action, and the theme, “Disasters Happen, Plan Now, Learn How,” is good advice for everyone. It is also at the heart of the continuing work of the Putnam County Community Resilience Coalition (CRC). This group of agencies from the public, private and non-profit sectors has been working year-round, building a strong foundation to ensure the safety and well-being of children before, during and after disasters. Putnam is one of only two counties in the U.S. working to develop a plan that will help build resilient communities nationwide.

“Planning for emergencies is a challenge, for individuals and communities alike,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “But the safety of our residents has always been, and continues to be, our county’s top priority. Many county agencies work together to make us better prepared. The health department conducts yearly drills, partnering with the Bureau of Emergency Services and our emergency responders, as well as law enforcement and the departments of highway and facilities, social services and transportation. Protecting our children, the most vulnerable members of our community, is paramount. We do everything we can to ensure their safety, protection and resilience.”

For the past three years, Putnam County’s Community Resilience Coalition has taught young children about emergency preparedness through fun, engaging activities, while laying a foundation among community groups to build a mental health infrastructure that can more fully support children affected by disasters.

“Our work with the Community Resilience Coalition has brought a new and essential focus to our emergency preparation and plans,” says interim Health Commissioner Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “Children have of course been incorporated in previous plans. However, they were not singled out and so their needs were addressed to a lesser degree. This work has totally shifted that thinking.”

Dr. Nesheiwat went on to encourage all individuals in the county to take personal steps as well. “It doesn’t have to be complicated,” he said. “Create a list of emergency contacts and share them among family members and close friends. Adding to, or updating your emergency supplies at home, is another easy step. These are simple things nearly everyone can do.”

“Getting accurate information during an event is also important,” says Commissioner Ken Clair, of the Bureau of Emergency Services, “You can sign up for free local and state emergency messages from NY Alert.” Real-time information about current issues or threats can be sent to a cell phone. You pick the alerts you want and can choose delivery by email or text. You can also cancel or change at any time. Your personal information is completely protected and never shared. Sign up at www.nyalert.gov.

“Residents who would like to do more should consider joining the Medical Reserve Corps,” says Dr. Nesheiwat. “We still need all types of volunteers, both non-medical and medical. During an event, help is always needed with logistical support or administrative tasks to support the county’s work.” Interested residents can find out more information by visiting the Putnam County website or calling the health department at 845-808-1390.

The Putnam County Shared Services Panel Meeting Notice on September 6, 2018

will be holding a public meeting on September 6, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at The Putnam County Training & Operations Building (TOPS), 112 Old Route 6, Carmel, NY 10512, at which the 2018 County-Wide Shared Services Property Tax Savings Plan will be considered by the Panel.

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 by clicking here!

County Clerk Michael Bartolotti to Swear in New Citizens September 12 at 10 A.M.

PUTNAM COUNTY CLERK MICHAEL C. BARTOLOTTI TO SWEAR IN NEW CITIZENS AT NATURALIZATION CEREMONY ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 AT 10:00 A.M. AT THE PUTNAM COUNTY HISTORIC COURTHOUSE IN CARMEL, NY

Putnam County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti will host a Naturalization Ceremony on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at the Putnam County Historic Courthouse, 44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel.  At the ceremony, Clerk Bartolotti will administer the Oath of Allegiance to our new citizens.

The Color Guard of American Legion Post 1080 will open and retire the ceremony.   The Honorable John W. Sweeny, Jr. will serve as the officiating Supreme Court Justice and County Executive Maryellen Odell will offer welcoming remarks. County Clerk Bartolotti will administer the Oath of Allegiance to our new citizens.   Director of Veterans Affairs Karl Rohde will lead all in the Pledge of Allegiance.    

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

 

School Opens September 4th & School Days Bring Congestion! Here are some Traffic safety tips!

School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings and harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

 

If You’re Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:

Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles

Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school

Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:

Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic

In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection

Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign

Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way

Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children

If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop

The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus

Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist

When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass

If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals

Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this

Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods

Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars

Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

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.

After 25 Years, Tom Honohan Steps Down From Library Board

Longtime Mahopac resident Tom Honohan will pull up stakes later this summer to move to Wappingers in Dutchess County, leaving behind a legacy of service and volunteerism.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride,” Honohan said. “I have a lot of friends here, but I can still come to visit them. [The move] is a little bittersweet.”

One thing Honohan looks forward to with the move is condo living—no more backbreaking outdoor chores.

“They do all the work for you,” he laughed. “No more shoveling sidewalks or mowing lawns.”

Honohan and his wife moved to Mahopac in 1979. He had grown up in the Parkchester area of the Bronx and remembers a happy childhood there.

“There were lots of playgrounds; it was a great place to grow up,” he said. “The rents were unbelievable, which was great for the parents.”

He went to high school at Manhattan Prep (part of Manhattan College) and then to Notre Dame University where he earned degrees in electrical engineering and liberal arts.

His first job out of college was with Westinghouse Electric.

“My whole career was in sales—industrial field sales. I had a series of assignments that kept me in the New York area,” he recalled.

Then he received a job offer from General Electric of England (no relation to the American GE), which had its headquarters in Elmsford in Westchester County. He was living on Long Island at the time, so he began looking for a new home to better his commute.

“Mahopac was about a half an hour away [from Elmsford],” he said. “It happened to work out because we had friends there and we found a piece of property with lots of woods.”

Honohan was introduced to community volunteerism through his children and their interest in sports. He has four kids—two are now teachers, one a computer programmer and the other a mechanical engineer. He also boasts nine grandchildren.

“My son got involved in soccer when we were still on Long Island and I knew nothing about it,” he said. “So, I volunteered to coach and I studied it and got heavily involved. All my kids got involved in sports. So, when we moved to Mahopac, I brought that knowledge with me.”

Honohan got involved with the Mahopac Sports Association (MSA) to help get them more organized and he ran the soccer program for about two years. His work with the MSA led him indirectly to the library.

“When I was coaching, the guy who was helping had a wife on the library board and they were going through some renovation programs,” he said. “They were doing some relatively large renovations—lots of electrical work and I had some expertise in that area and felt I could help them with that. I was eventually appointed to the board and within two years I was president.”

Honohan was part of the board that oversaw the construction of the new library building, which was completed in 2002.

“I was involved with most of the process,” he said. “There are always a number of people who, no matter what, will say no. But people voted on it and said yes and we have always prided ourselves on that.”

Honohan said the nature of libraries has changed dramatically since he first joined the board of trustees.

“My motto is that the library ain’t just books anymore,” he said. “There are so many other things.”

Honohan cited the BAMM concerts, children and teen programs, blood drives and the Third Floor Gallery as just some examples of what the library provides to the community. He also noted that the staff has expertise on computers and other technology that they’ll share with the public.

“We have PCs, tablets, laptops,” he said. “Bring it in and people will answer your questions.”

Honohan said his wife once exhibited her artwork at the library’s art gallery and the space has been evolving ever since.

“We have fined tuned it over time,” he said. “We have a committee to make sure the exhibit is representable.”

Honohan has also been a volunteer for Putnam County’s Office for Senior Resources by driving seniors and veterans to doctors’ appointments and other activities.

“Putnam County has superb services for seniors and I found out they have a program where you drive to the county center and use a county car to visit older seniors,” he said. “Some are vets and there are some who just can’t drive anymore; I drive them to doctors’ appointments or to veteran facilities like Castle Point.

I found that to be a very rewarding thing for me,” he continued. “Instead of trying to solve their problems, I just listen and let them vent. I think that’s the medicine they need. I think it’s great that the county can do this. I felt it was spiritually uplifting and found it kind of rewarding.”

But now, Honohan says it is time to move in another direction and find some new challenges.

“It’s been 25 years now and a lot has happened,” he said. “I feel the need to do something else. I need to devote my volunteer life in another direction.”

And after signing the papers for his new home in Wappingers, he said he’s finally ready for that maintenance-free lifestyle.

“The pen is mightier than the lawnmower,” he chuckled.