County Executive Chairs First Panel Session to Work on Putnam County Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan

County Executive Chairs First Panel Session to Work on Putnam County
Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan

Meeting at TOPS Center Draws Quorum of Representatives from County’s Six Municipalities

CARMEL, NY – On Thursday, May 18th, 2017 Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell initiated a county-wide planning session designed to save money for taxpayers through increased efficiencies across government services. As mandated by Governor Cuomo, Thursday’s panel included supervisors and mayors or their designated representatives from Putnam’s six towns and three villages. Representatives from the Carmel, Mahopac and Putnam Valley Central School Districts, municipal Highway Departments, and the county legislative body, were also in attendance among others at the public hearing.

County Executive Odell presented details associated with the initiative, which includes a narrow execution timeline. An initial Shared Services Plan, including certification as to the accuracy of tax savings, must be collaboratively developed with the panel and submitted to the county legislature before August 1, 2017.  Upon review, the legislature will provide an advisory report and the County Executive may modify the plan and resubmit it no later than September 15, 2017.  Also within this timeline, the panel, Putnam County Legislature and County Executive will accept input and testimony on the plan from the public via two additional public hearings, which are scheduled for June 20th and July 18th, 2017 at the Putnam County Training & Operations Center (TOPS) in Carmel, NY.

“Putnam County has the lowest portion per tax dollar of any of New York State’s 62 counties, and my administration is proud of that fact,” said Odell. “We got there through diligent fiscal responsibility, including sharing services wherever possible. I am optimistic that by working together toward a shared objective that Putnam County will continue to drive innovative cost-saving strategies that reduce duplicative services and share resources wherever practical.”

The County Executive opened the meeting by asking the municipality representatives if they were already implementing shared services strategies.  The overwhelming majority of panel members raised their hands in the affirmative.

Odell raised the issue of school taxes, which comprise 0.71cents of every tax dollar paid by Putnam County residents.  “As co-chair of the New York State Association of Counties, our goal is the reduction of property taxes in New York State, but in order for a realistic discussion to take place, school taxes and how public education is funded must be part of the discussion,” said Odell. “We keep chasing the small money and we need to address the areas that cost big money.”

Several current initiatives and new ideas were discussed, including the East of Hudson Watershed Corp., which is a collaboration of 19 municipalities charged with meeting storm water regulations in a cost effective and efficient manner; the Putnam County Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability, which has been focusing on fiscal vision for Putnam County since 2014; and Video Court Appearances, a new alternate method of arraignment that was started by the Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability. The county has implemented this on a limited basis successfully and has proven that it will save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“In order to fully implement an electronic video court appearance option across the county, we need legislation from Albany,” said Odell. “We have two bills awaiting the Governor’s approval to move forward on this plan, which will significantly reduce overtime, and wear and tear on transport vehicles while ensuring safe, judicially sound, and efficient arraignments.”

A video recording of Thursday’s panel meeting and a copy of the slide presentation is available on the Putnam County website at http://www.putnamcountyny.com/. Additionally, a copy of the New York State Shared Services law is available at: https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/countywide_services.html.

click here for presentation and more!

Create a Pollinator Paradise Supporting Pollinators in our Backyards and Gardens

Did you know that your backyard can offer habitat and food for pollinators? The choices you make in planning and caring for your landscape can affect pollinator abundance and species diversity. Just like us, these insects need shelter, food, and an environment safe from harmful chemicals. Below are four steps you can take to make a pollinator paradise.

The Bee-Friendly Backyard

New York is home to over 450 native bee species. Along with the imported honeybee these native bees pollinate agricultural crops and wildflowers. Bees aren’t the only pollinators. Specialized flies, beetles, butterflies, birds and bats pollinate our flowering plants too. But honeybees are familiar and many people have heard about honeybee colony collapse disorder and its possible impacts on our food supply. In 2015, Governor Cuomo established an interagency task force on Pollinators, with several goals, including pollinator habitat enhancement. That’s where you come in.

Click here to learn more!

Memorial Day Events & Festivities in Putnam County 2017

Friday , Saturday , Sunday, May 26,27,28, 2017

  • Putnam County Joint Veterans Council-
    John Morris Memorial Watchfire Vigil, each night
    6 PM-6AM May 26,27,28 Opening Ceremony Friday the 26th at 7:00 PM
    Flag Retirement through out the Vigil.

Sunday May 28, 2017

  • VFW Post 1374 & Auxiliary, Carmel &
    American Legion Post 270-
    9:30 AM Ceremony at monument on Terryhill Road, Kent
    11:00 AM Ceremony at Post Home 32 Gleneida Ave, Carmel
    Refreshments to follow 11:30 Ceremony

Monday May 29, 2017

  • VFW Post 391, Putnam Valley-
    11:00 AM Ceremony Putnam Valley Town Hall
    12:00 Ceremony Lake Peekskill Monument (Chester Place)
    1:00 PM Ceremony Post Home 153 Oscawanna Lake Road
    Refreshments to follow 1:00 PM ceremony at Post Home
    2:00PM Start of “Round of Honor”. Visiting grave sites, cemeteries, and monuments in vicinity, including Lakeland High School, Bill Mangero Park
  • VFW Post 672, Brewster-
    Parade from Brewster Fire House to Electrozone Field (step off 11:00 AM)
    Ceremony at Electrazone Field following parade
    Light Lunch to follow at Post Home on Peaceable Hill Road
  • VFW Post & Ladies Auxiliary 5491 Mahopac & American Legion Post 1080-
    Parade from Clarke Place to Veterans Memorial Park on East Lake Blvd. (step off 10:00 AM)
    Ceremony to follow at Monument
    American Legion Post 1080 Ceremony at noon following VFW
    Ceremony at 333 Buckshollow Road
    Refreshments to follow at VFW Post home
    154 East Lake Blvd & at the Legion Post 333 Buckshollow Rd.
  • VFW Post 9257& Ladies Auxiliary & AMVET Post 1111 Putnam Lake-
    Parade and Ceremony at The Monument located at the intersec-tion of Fairfield and Haviland Dr.
    10:00- parade step off from The Castle Building located on Haviland Dr.
    Refreshments to be served at VFW 9257, located at 4 Fairfield Dr, Patterson NY 12563
    (Note: this year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the post!! Our lone surging charter member, Joseph Garcia, will be recognized during the ceremony. )
  • VFW Post 2362 and American Legion Post 275 Cold Spring-
    9:00 AM step off at 85 Main St, Cold Spring Village Hall, to Veterans Memorial on Mains St, then onto the Old Cold Spring Cemetery (Revolutionary War), then to Nelsonville Town Hall. Ceremony at each location. Refreshments to follow at American Legion/VFW Hall on Cedar Street.
  • VFW Post 8013, Somers-
    Annual Memorial Day Parade and Remembrance Ceremony. Step off 10:00 AM from Somers Middle School to Ivandell Cemetery.
    ( Somers Post is part of the Putnam County Council VFW)
  • American Legion Post 1542, Patterson-
    10:00 AM walk from Post home to monument on Rt. 311 for ceremony. Refreshments to follow at Post Home.

Tuesday May 30, 2016:

  • Putnam County Joint Veterans Council– 6:00 PM Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park
    Ceremony at Electrozone Field following parade.
    Light Lunch to follow at post home on Peaceable Hill Road

Full Volume Test for Indian Point Sirens Set for Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Entergy is conducting a full-volume test of the Indian Point siren system in Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties on Wednesday, May 31st at 10:30 AM.
During the test the sirens will sound for four minutes. WHUD Radio (100.7 FM) will test the Emergency Alert System immediately following the siren test.

County officials will use the siren system to alert the public during an emergency at Indian Point. A sample of the Siren Sounds can be found at our website. WWW.PCBES.ORG/ipec/
In an actual emergency, all the sirens would sound at full volume for four minutes. Sirens are not a signal to evacuate; but to alert the public to tune to their local Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio or TV station for important information. The EAS stations are listed in the booklet “Are you Ready ? Putnam County Indian Point: Emergency Guide,” which was distributed, as well as available online.

For additional information on this siren test:

Visit www.safesecurevital.org

Information on Indian Point emergency planning is on the New York State Emergency Management Office website: http://www.nyalert.gov

PUTNAM DA USES NY SAFE STREET GRANT MONEY TO PURCHASE BODY ARMOR VESTS FOR SHERIFF’S OFFICERS

PUTNAM DA USES NY SAFE STREET GRANT MONEY TO PURCHASE BODY ARMOR VESTS FOR SHERIFF’S OFFICERS

CARMEL, NEW YORK – MAY 23, 2017: Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy announced today that he has used money from the Safe Street Grant to purchase five body armor vests for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. The vests will be worn by Deputy Sheriff’s on assignment in potentially dangerous situations.

Sheriff Donald B. Smith stated that “all of us in the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office are grateful to District Attorney Bob Tendy and his office for providing several new bullet-proof vests to us. The new vests were issued to investigators and to deputies assigned to our Narcotics Enforcement Unit, to replace old vests that had reached the end of their effective lifespans. The D.A.’s acquisition of the new vests for our members truly represents a potentially life-saving gift for the men and women who will wear them while doing their duties in harm’s way.”

Tendy said “the Safe Street Grant money is something that we can put to great use, and making sure our Sheriff’s Deputies have the protection they need is extremely important. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with Sheriff Smith in this endeavor.” He added, “Everyone in law enforcement is part of a team, and whenever my office can help, we will.”

CLICK FOR PRESS RELEASE

 

Senator Terrence Murphy speaking

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by state Senator Terrence Murphy and other government officials for an information session about the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative.

On Thursday, May 18, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was joined by state Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and local government and school officials for an information session about the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s County-wide Shared Services Initiative. The Initiative, included in the enacted FY 2018 Budget, requires county officials to develop localized plans that find property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and propose coordinated services to enhance purchasing power.

The meeting was the first of three sessions scheduled for the governor-mandated panel. The next date is Tuesday June 20 at 4 p.m. The final session will be held on July 18. All sessions are held at the Tops auditorium.

The public is invited to the meetings and is encouraged to provide Putnam County’s administration feedback and suggestions on shared services.

Click here to visit the shared Initiatives Page for more information & the video presentation

Having financial problems with your house? We are here to help! Putnam County Housing Corp.

PUTNAM COUNTY HOUSING CORP.
A non-profit corporation, we hope to assist you with all your housing needs regardless of your income.
We offer a comprehensive housing program serving both renters and homeowners.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION
WWW.PUTNAMHOUSING.COM

Cutting Veterans’ Services – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Cutting Veterans’ Services – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Karl Rohde, director, Putnam County Veterans Service Agency

In 1991, Governor Mario Cuomo attempted to reduce his New York State budget by cutting services to the Veterans of Putnam County.  Today, the legacy continues as his son and current NYS Governor, Andrew Cuomo, attempts a similar strategy.

First, a bit of history — Back in 1991 the New York Division of Veterans Affairs announced that they were going to close the Putnam County office for budgetary reasons.  The closing of the office was going to save about $50,000 out of a $5 Million Budget that had to be cut by $500,000.  Fortunately, Putnam succeeded in mobilizing its Veterans and won a reprieve. As part of the new deal, the Putnam County office would remain open, but the County would foot the bill to house the NY State Division Service officer, and provide secretarial assistance for the two days the service officer was on site.  In addition, the County would also provide clerical assistance on the other three days of the week to schedule appointments, as well as providing phone service and computer access at no charge to the State.

After the State’s second attempt to close the Putnam Office in April 2015 was thwarted, I formally requested, as Director of the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency and provider of free office space, clerical support and amenities to the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs, that we receive notification when and if the Putnam Office would be closed. That following January of 2016, the Division closed the office.  Putnam Veterans Services had to reschedule an estimated 50 Veteran client appointments to other dates at a location in Castle Point, which is about 25 miles from our office in Carmel.  Again, we fought and won to reopen our office, so our Veterans, many of whom are elderly and disabled, would not have to bear the burden of inconvenient, costly and unnecessary travel to meet with a Veterans Service Officer to apply for compensation due to military service.

The punishment continued in 2016 when the Division tried to limit Putnam to one day per week with a Veterans Service Officer.  That was also stopped when we proved the need in Putnam for at least two days per week, if not more.

Now in May of 2017, just weeks before Memorial Day, and the New York State Division, at the insistence of Governor Andrew Cuomo, is keen on denying services to the Veterans of Putnam County again.

In order to save money, the Putnam Office will be closed.  This is nonsense. The Division has to save $300,000 in the current budget.  Notwithstanding that the Governor wants to cut his budget on behalf of Veterans, this closing makes little sense.  Our Veterans Service Officer, Brennan Mahoney, will still be employed 5 days per week by the Division.  He will do all those days at Castle Point alongside another fulltime service officer at the same location.  The Veterans of Putnam, Northern Westchester and Southern Dutchess will now be forced to commute to Castle Point to see Brennan even though there is a second service officer already covering the Castle Point location – and where is the cost savings?  It should also be noted that while the clerk at Castle Point is paid by the State of New York, the clerk in Putnam County still costs the State of New York nothing.

The travel expense and inconvenience to these Veterans has not been considered in the least.  The age of the Veteran or the disability that makes travel difficult has not been weighed in this decision.

Why are these statewide cuts being aimed at the very group of people that the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs is mandated to serve?  To put a fine point on it, why is the Division targeting its own clients?  There are no suggested cut backs in management headcount or salary.  No mention of trying to lower the costs in areas where they rent and or lease office buildings.  Rather than a knee jerk response, why weren’t the cuts more thoughtfully vetted?

Veterans and family members who wish to learn answers to these questions should contact Eric J. Hesse, director, New York State Division of Veterans Affairs at (518) 474-6114.

Historic Putnam County Courthouse Shines Blue in Tribute to Fallen Police Officers during Police Memorial Week

Special Dedication Hosted at Spain Cornerstone Park in Memory of
James J. O’Neill, Founder of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, FOP
CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced today that the historic Putnam County courthouse located on Gleneida Avenue in Carmel, NY, will be lit up in blue in tribute to fallen police officers during Police Memorial Week, May15 – 21, 2017. The courthouse lighting commenced at sundown on Tuesday, May 15th following a special dedication by the Fraternal Order of Police at Spain Cornerstone Park to honor the late James (Jimmy) O’Neill. Jimmy was an icon in the police community and founding president of the Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, a chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“This tribute serves to honor the memory of Jimmy O’Neill and all law enforcement professionals who have made the ultimate sacrifice,” said County Executive Odell. “Putnam County is the safest county in New York State and we owe that distinction to our state and local police officers who put their lives on the line everyday to protect and serve our citizens.”

The Fraternal Order of Police dedicated a bench at Spain Cornerstone Park in memory of Jimmy O’Neill.  The granite bench was installed, including an in memoriam plaque and the Irish Prayer, across from the 9/11 Monument located at the site.

“Jimmy’s legacy as a police officer, advocate for law enforcement professionals, and highly valued contributor to the community is deservedly recognized through this dedication,” said Steve Conner, board member, Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police.  “We are honored to have a lasting tribute in Jimmy’s name located at a place very near and dear to his heart.”

Editor’s note: Please see photo captions for attached images.

Photo 5319 – Pictured from left: Kathy O’Neill and Jimmy O’Neill, wife and son, respectively, of James J. O’Neill

Photo 5282 – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell

###

Putnam County Honors U.S. Military with Row of Honor Installation and Annual Pancake Breakfast Kickoff on May 20th

CARMEL, N.Y. – On May 20th at 11am, Putnam County’s annual Row of Honor season will commence at the Carmel VFW Hall, located on Route 52 in Carmel, N.Y. The event will kick off from 9 am to 11am with a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser organized by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council.  All proceeds will go towards Military Suicide Awareness Programs of the Putnam County Suicide Task force. Suggested donation is $10.00 or $15.00 per family. Residents are also encouraged to sponsor a flag to honor our heroes. Please contact Veterans Services to RSVP for the Breakfast and to order your flag, 845-808-1620 or visit www.PutnamCountyNY.gov/ROH.

“We are excited as always to kick off the Row of Honor tradition with our annual pancake breakfast,” said Karl Rohde, Director of Putnam County Veterans Services. “In support of the 22 veterans who commit suicide daily and the growing population of veterans who are suffering from combat induced mental illness, we are designating funds raised by this event to support our Military Suicide Awareness programs.”

More than 200 flags, which carry the names of beloved Veterans, will continue to fly until Flag Day, June 14th. With a $100 donation, the name of a loved one can appear on a flag. The proceeds will go toward Military Suicide Awareness Programs of the Putnam County Suicide Task force.

To order your flag, call 845-808-1620 or visit PutnamCountyNY.gov/ROH. Checks can be made payable to the Joint Veterans Council to PC Veterans Service Agency, Donald B. Smith Government Campus, 110 Old Route 6, Bldg. 3, Carmel, N.Y. 10512.