Decade of Storms

While the ten-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy brought back painful memories of devastation, it also provided an opportunity to look at all that Putnam County officials and emergency responders have learned in the past decade about keeping the community safe in a disaster, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said.

Fourteen monster storms – hurricanes, tropical storms, winter storms and tornadoes — have struck Putnam since Superstorm Sandy tore through the county in October 2012.  These storms brought power outages, road closures and threats to our residents’ safety and property.

“We certainly had a lot of disaster preparedness practice, and with every storm we learned invaluable lessons,” County Executive Odell said. “We managed to keep Putnam residents safe thanks to the county’s Incident Command Team and the fast work of the County Highway Department working with the town highway departments, the local police departments, fire departments and ambulance companies. Different agencies throughout the county and municipalities worked seamlessly together. It was very impressive to watch, and I am so proud of all the county employees and all of our partners in the municipalities who repeatedly performed heroic work for the people of Putnam County.”

County Executive Odell also extended thanks to NYSEG and Central Hudson Gas & Electric for being good partners with the county. In fact, NYSEG has used Putnam County’s storm response model for the rest of the region.

“The lights didn’t always go back on as fast as everyone hoped, but the utilities that serve Putnam County always worked round the clock to get power back as fast as possible,” Odell said.

When power couldn’t be restored quickly, community organizations like the Knights of Columbus, the ELKS Club, the public libraries and more stepped up to help. They set up warming centers and offered charging stations to help those without heat or electricity.

There was a lesson to be learned in every storm. It turned out that the mobilization and coordination between our Health Department and all the municipalities and school districts created a model of cooperation that helped us in ways we could not have anticipated. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the crisis response we developed enabled us to quickly respond countywide with information, data, public testing sites and vaccination sites once the vaccines were available.

“While the pandemic was a completely different kind of emergency, all of these storms helped us develop a system that allowed our first responders, Department of Health and emergency service providers to efficiently set up mass Covid testing and vaccination centers for our residents,” County Executive Odell said. “I have been proud to serve as the Incident Commander for our county who always was ready to rescue and always ready to respond to whatever came our way. I wish all our volunteers safe and healthy times ahead, and I know that as I leave the County Executive’s Office, I leave a county ready to take on anything.

Storms that Impacted Putnam County:

  • Superstorm Sandy – 10/28-29/2012
  • Tropical Storm Andrea – 6/7-8/2013
  • Tropical Storm Bill – June 21-22, 2015
  • Winter Storm Jonas – January 20-22, 2016
  • Tropical Storm Bonnie – May 28, 2016
  • Tropical Storm Cindy – Jun 19, 2017
  • Tropical Storm Jose – 9/19-20/2017
  • Tropical Philippe – 10/28-30/2017
  • Winter Storm Quinn – 3/2/18
  • Winter Storm Riley – 3/7/18
  • Tornado – Patterson/Kent – 5/15/18
  • Winter Storm Harper 1/19/2019
  • Tropical Storm Isaias – 8/4/2020
  • Hurricane Henri – August 22, 2021
  • Hurricane Ida – September 1, 2021

 

Putnam County Historic Courthouse will be Lit in Green to Honor Our Nation’s Veterans

The Putnam County Historic Courthouse will be lit in green to honor our nation’s veterans for Veterans Day, County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced.

 

“Veterans put their lives on the line to protect us,” County Executive Odell said. “We want to shine a light on their service. We want them to see that we don’t take their sacrifice for granted. We appreciate their service and their excellent example.”

 

Guardian Revival, a nonprofit that helps support the mental health and well-being of veterans and first responders, donated the green lightbulbs to the county to light the courthouse.

 

Operation Green Light is a nationwide initiative that aims to raise awareness of the challenges faced by veterans and the resources available to them. Government buildings, businesses and private homes throughout the country will shine a green light for veterans during the week of November 6 to 12.

 

Putnam County Announces No Property Tax Increase

Putnam County Announces No Property Tax Increase

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell proposed a $180 million county budget for 2023 that includes no property tax levy increase, a help to homeowners in this time of high inflation.

The proposed budget, presented to the Legislature Thursday night at the Historic Putnam County Courthouse in Carmel, is within the New York State property tax cap and includes an increase of $11.3 million, or 6.3%, over the 2022 budget. It reflects the conservative spending that has been the hallmark of Odell’s tenure and showcases the county’s very strong fiscal position.

“Tonight, our proposed 2023 Budget carries out our vision of laying the groundwork for a better quality of life for future generations, and its implementation will complete our challenge of fulfilling our fiscal and social responsibilities to our constituents,” said County Executive Odell, who will step down at the end of the year.

Odell began her eleventh and final budget presentation “by thanking all the citizens of Putnam County that have given me the honor and privilege of serving you for the past 3,982 days, and I want to let you know that I will continue to do my very best in performing this job that you have entrusted to me right through my last day of December 31, 2022.”

Odell’s disciplined approach to budgeting has reduced Putnam’s debt level by more than $48 million since she took office and completely eliminated short-term borrowing. It has also increased the county’s general fund balance by nearly $49 million during her tenure. Those measures have allowed the county to maintain its high Aa1 bond rating, a designation few counties statewide ever achieve.

Legislature Chairman Neal Sullivan praised the County Executive’s budget proposal.

“The financial stability of the county has never been better, and we are extremely well positioned to withstand any bumps in the economy that may be ahead,” Legislator Sullivan said. “County Executive Odell has invested in areas that matter to our residents and to the quality of life of Putnam County. She has invested in public safety to make Putnam one of the safest counties in the country. She has invested in infrastructure, education and recreational facilities, including the Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute and the Putnam County Golf Course so we can all have fun, and have exciting places to take our families and friends right here in Putnam County.”

The 2023 budget proposal anticipates $74.7 million in sales tax revenue, or 42 percent of the budget.

“In March, we presented a sales tax revenue sharing proposal called ‘share the growth’ that we hope will continue the intermunicipal partnership between the County and local municipalities to get vital infrastructure projects done,” Odell told the Legislature and the audience that came out to hear her budget final address. “Recall that earlier this year we proposed, and the Legislature approved, $10 million in combined sales tax and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to spearhead this initiative. Based on current trends, it appears that this initiative can continue in 2023, but it will be up to the future Administration and Legislature to implement it.”

The proposed budget also provides a 3.5 percent cost-of-living increase to employees in its largest union – the CSEA – and in funding to the outside agencies that contribute to the high quality of life in Putnam County – the libraries, the Putnam Arts Council, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Putnam Humane Society and SPCA.

If the proposed budget is approved by the Legislature, it will include almost $46.7 million in real property taxes, the same amount as in 2022. The average county homeowner whose property is assessed at $400,859 will pay $1,250 in county property taxes. The property tax rate per $ 1,000 of assessed value will be $3.12, the lowest county property tax rate since 2009.

The Legislature is expected to vote on a final 2023 budget by November.

As always, County Executive Odell thanked all those who support Putnam County.

At the start of the meeting, green lightbulbs were handed out to the audience without explanation. In her address, Odell noted that the Courthouse will be lit in green for Veterans Day and thanked Guardian Revival, a nonprofit that helps support the mental health and well-being of veterans and first responders, for donating the green lightbulbs.

She thanked the county employees and all of those in her administration who work hard for the people of Putnam every day. But it was her thank you to the county finance director that drew a standing ovation.

“I’d like to recognize that this is the final budget not only for myself but for our esteemed Commissioner of Finance William “Bill” Carlin,” Odell said. “Anyone and everyone who has had the pleasure of calling Bill a colleague, has also had the pleasure of calling him a friend. Putnam County will never know how much dedication and brilliance that Bill has, in his career, brought to us.

“In March 2020 when the state and Putnam County shut down from Covid, we were devasted by the unknown. Bill with his insight kept us not even just above water, but better than that. There is no person that I can say cared more about the fiscal stability and the impact it would have on all of the families in our county than Bill Carlin. I am eternally grateful to you Bill, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve beside you for the good of the people of Putnam County.”

Peekskill Hollow Road Reconstruction Update

The Peekskill Hollow Road reconstruction project is scheduled to resume this week. Putnam County Highway Department has come to an agreement with the Contractor and has implemented additional support measures to expedite the remaining work, especially the bridge safety concerns as we approach the winter months. Putnam County Executive Odell said, “Maintaining the safety of the travelling public is and always will be of the utmost importance in developing this important infrastructure improvement project.”

Putnam County Executive Odell Joins Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde in Urging Schools and Families to Visit the Traveling Vietnam Wall this Month  

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell joins Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde in urging schools and families to take advantage of an event that will give local meaning to national history and bring students to see the Traveling Vietnam Wall when it visits Carmel this month.

The Traveling Vietnam Wall will be on display at the Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park from noon on September 22nd until 3:00 PM on September 25th and will be open for visits 24 hours a day.

“This is a great educational opportunity,” County Executive Odell said. “Not only can students see a version of the Vietnam Wall without having to go to D.C., but they will have the chance to meet with local veterans from Putnam County who may have served in the war. It’s a good example to show the students how national history is also local history.”

The Traveling Wall is an 80 percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. This visit will include The American Traveling Tribute, a display that features every war America has been involved in from the Revolutionary War right up to today, and a half-size replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

This event is a collaboration between the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency and the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council (PCJVC). The PCJVC is a local non-profit Veterans Service Organization.

“We believe that this is an excellent educational and community service opportunity,” Rohde wrote in a letter to school officials throughout the region. “We know it’s early in the school year, but It is our hope that you can present the students at your school with this gift.”

A motorcycle convoy will meet at the rest area on northbound I-684 in Southeast at 3 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 21 and escort The Traveling Wall to the Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park.  Motorcycle riders are encouraged to join.

Buses will be available to transport visitors round trip from Putnam Plaza and the Putnam County Office Building to the park to see the wall.   The buses will run from the Tops Store at Putnam Plaza every hour on the hour from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 22-24. They will stop at the county office building 10 minutes after the hour.  Please see the below Traveling Wall Public Transportation schedule for details.

The closing ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Sunday, September 25, which is Gold Star Mother’s Day, and will feature a concert by The Hudson Valley Council Band.

Putnam County Veterans Service Agency

 

NYS DPS to hold Virtual Public Statement Hearings on Proposed Rate Increases for NYSEG and RG&E Corporations (Cases 22-E-0317, et al)

Dear Community Leader/Elected Official:

On May 26, 2022, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) (collectively the Companies/Utility) requested that the New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) approve proposed changes to annual electric and natural gas delivery rates and practices, to be effective May 1, 2023. Under New York State law, the Commission must consider a utility’s proposal and may adopt or reject it, in whole or in part, or modify it.

To ensure full public participation, the Commission will hold a series of virtual public statement hearings on September 15, September 28, and October 18, 2022, to solicit input and comments from your community regarding NYSEG and RG&E’s proposal. Information on how to participate in the hearings is provided below.

NYSEG is proposing to increase its electric delivery revenue by approximately $274 million (a 31 percent increase in base delivery revenues), and its natural gas delivery revenue by approximately $43.4 million (a 19 percent increase in base delivery revenues). RG&E is proposing to increase its electric delivery revenue by approximately $93.8 million (a 19 percent increase in base delivery revenues), and its natural gas delivery revenue by approximately $37.7 million (a 20.9 percent increase in base delivery revenues).

An electric or gas bill consists of two parts: a supply charge and a delivery charge. Through the supply charge, the utility recovers the cost of the electric or gas commodity. The cost of the commodity is determined by the competitive marketplace and is not set by the Commission or the utility. Through the delivery charge, the utility recovers the cost to transport electricity or gas to customers through the utility’s delivery system. The delivery charge is regulated by the Commission.

Hearing Dates and Times

  • September 15
    1pm & 5pm
  • September 28
    1pm & 5pm
  • October 18
    1pm & 5pm

Any person wishing to provide a comment at a hearing must pre-register by 4:30 p.m. the day before the relevant hearing. Use the link above to register electronically or call 1-800-342-3330 to register by phone. Speakers will be called in the order in which they registered

Any participants not able to login to the hearings electronically may participate by phone. Additional details on how to participate at the public hearing and how to submit comments are available in the Notice of Public Statement Hearings. Information about the filing can be found at www.dps.ny.gov. From the homepage, click on “Search,” and enter the associated case number (22-E-0317, 22-G-0318, 22-E-0319, or 22-G-0320) in the “Search by Case Number” field.

I would appreciate your assistance with informing your constituents about the public statement hearings and encouraging them to provide comments. It is the Commission’s intent to facilitate and encourage active and meaningful participation throughout all of its proceedings. We hope you will consider joining us.

Regards,

John B. Auricchio, Acting Director
Office of Consumer Services

 

Status of the County’s Peekskill Hollow Road Project

Click to View Status of the County’s Peekskill Hollow Road Project Letter

Dear Supervisor Annabi:

This letter shall serve as a response to your request for information regarding the status of the County’s Peekskill Hollow Road project. Specifically, the County had entered into an agreement with a particular general contractor to perform the work which was proposed at this particular location of Peekskill Hollow Road. Unfortunately, the County has encountered unforeseen issues with said contractor and is in the process of attempting to resolve said issues with all necessary parties.

In the meantime, however, the County is working with its engineers and outside firms to arrive at a plan for securing the site and for ensuring that the roadway at issue is safe for traversing during the upcoming winter months. Please let me assure you that all necessary measures will be taken to provide for a convenient and safe manner of passage through and across Peekskill Hollow Road before the first snowfall.

I sincerely hope that the above referenced information helps to provide you and your constituents with some reassurance that the County is aware of your concerns and that we are in the process of addressing them. Unfortunately, I am constrained from providing more specific information to you in light of the fact that this matter is currently being handled by our County Attorney’s Office and by outside counsel for the County. Once I am able to provide more detailed information to you, I will certainly do so. Should you have any additional questions or concerns relative to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive

Putnam County Economic Development Corporation to Host Breakfast Symposium

“Economic Trends Impacting Local Business”

Carmel, NY (August 24,2022) – The Putnam County Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC) will host a breakfast symposium focusing on the “Economic Trends Impacting Local Business” Thursday, Sept. 29, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Putnam County Golf Club in Mahopac, N.Y.
Following a networking breakfast there will be presentations by two experts on the state of the regional economy and its impact on local business and residents. Adam Bosch, president and CEO with Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, will discuss “Connecting the Dots: The effects of housing, migration & childcare on the Hudson Valley workforce.” E.J. McMahon, founding senior fellow with Empire Center for Public Policy, will review “New York’s Fiscal & Economic Outlook.”
“After a two year, COVID-related hiatus for in-person events, the PCEDC is thrilled to host a symposium with such outstanding speakers,” said Kathleen Abels, president of PCEDC. “Our goal is to raise awareness of our organization with prospective businesses interested in starting up or relocating to Putnam County, and to provide insight into economic trends and growth opportunities that will impact our local businesses, which we wholeheartedly support.”
This event is sponsored through generous donations from Tompkins Community Bank; PCSB bank; NYSEG; Ace Endico; Putnam County National Bank; Houlihan Lawrence; and Marshall & Sterling.

Tickets for the event are $40/person. To purchase tickets, visit https://PCEDCBreakfastSymposium.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Kathleen Abels, PCEDC president, at (845) 808-1021 or email Kathleen.Abels@putnamcountyny.gov.

About the featured speakers

Adam Bosch is the president and CEO of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, a policy, planning and research organization that was founded in 1965. Pattern focuses its regional planning and studies on a number of topics that are important to the growth and vitality of the region, including housing, downtown revitalization, infrastructure, transportation, community planning and more.

Bosch began his career in journalism, working as a reporter and editor at a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Times Herald-Record, The New York Times, Scientific American and more. His work in journalism earned six Associated Press awards for investigative reporting, depth reporting and breaking news coverage. Bosch also served as an adjunct professor of journalism for 10 years at SUNY New Paltz.

After leaving journalism, Bosch joined Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress in 2012 as vice president of research and external affairs. He authored reports on the adaptive re-use of closed school buildings across the region, New York’s tax cap and an investigation of Rockland County’s budget deficit. His examination of Rockland County’s fiscal crisis and recommendations to solve it, earned Pattern the President’s Award from the Rockland County Business Association.

For nine years, Bosch served as director of public and intergovernmental affairs for the New York City water supply system, the largest municipal water supply in the United States. In that role, Bosch was responsible for community outreach, intergovernmental affairs, education programs and more. He served as the primary liaison between New York City and federal, state and local officials across the Hudson Valley and Catskills for issues related to the city’s reservoir system and its infrastructure. His work focused on explaining the operation, maintenance and protection of the water supply system that serves nearly 10 million New Yorkers, especially as the city pursued several large capital projects to upgrade its dams, aqueducts and treatment facilities in the region.
Bosch currently serves on the Catskill Advisory Group, a state-appointed panel that is developing a strategic framework to tackle the challenges and opportunities of increased visitation to the Catskill Park. He also served on a nationwide advisory group that is developing risk communications for perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water supplies.

Bosch was born and raised in Newburgh. He earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and his master’s degree from Columbia University in the City of New York.

E.J. McMahon is founding senior fellow of the Empire Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan think tank based in Albany. He also is an adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

McMahon is a writer and policy analyst long focused on improving New York’s economic competitiveness and promoting greater transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility in state and local government. He has authored or co-authored major studies on public pension reform, collective bargaining, population migration, budget trends and tax policy in New York, and has published numerous articles and essays in publications including the New York Post, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Barron’s, Newsday and the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal. His frequent radio and TV interviews have included appearances on CNBC, Fox News Channel and Bloomberg News, as well as on regional cable and broadcast outlets throughout New York State.

McMahon’s professional background includes nearly 40 years as an Albany-based analyst and close observer of New York State government. As director of The Business Council’s Public Policy Institute, he worked on the Institute’s counter budget proposals and developed the template for New York’s school report cards. As chief fiscal advisor to the Assembly Republican Conference in the early 1990s, he drafted a personal income tax reform plan that would become the basis for historic tax cuts enacted under Governor George E. Pataki. He also served as a deputy commissioner in the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

A native of Westchester County, he grew up in Cortlandt and Mahopac, graduating from what is now John F. Kennedy Catholic Preparatory School in Somers before earning his bachelor’s degree from Villanova University. McMahon began his career as a newspaper reporter covering Putnam County, initially for the Peekskill Evening Star and then in the Carmel bureau of The Reporter Dispatch.

About Putnam County Economic Development Corporation
The Putnam County Economic Development Corporation is a 501(c)(6) Public-Private Corporation formed in 1996 with the mission to promote the economic vitality of Putnam County, to retain and grow existing businesses, attract new businesses, broaden the County’s tax base, and increase employment opportunities for County residents. The PCEDC acts as a facilitator, bringing together businesses, government agencies and other stakeholders.

Ceremonies for 9/11 Scheduled in Putnam County

There will be many events throughout Putnam County to remember those lost in the 9/11 terrorist
attacks.

In Brewster, a memorial will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, September 11.

In Carmel, the Putnam County Youth Bureau will hold the 2nd Annual 9/11 Day Flag of Honor
Across America Memorial at the Bureau of Emergency Services, 112 Old Route 6. Arrival
time for that ceremony is 8:30 a.m., the ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m.

Later that day, the annual candlelight vigil honoring the victims of the 9/11 attacks will be
held at 7 p.m. in Carmel, at the Spain Cornerstone Park, 1 Fair Street.

A new name will be added to the Putnam Heroes Monument, which also recognizes those who died
of 9/11-related illnesses.

The keynote address will be delivered by Eamon Cummins, a retired operating engineer who
worked on The Pile.

The ceremony will include the tolling of the bells performed by firefighter Thomas Burke and a
reading of the names by journalist Eric Gross.

The Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Pipe Band and the Brewster High School Marching Band will also
be participating in the ceremony.

The event will be live cast. The public can join by going to the Putnam County website
https://putnamcountyny.com/911candlelightvigil/ at 6:55 pm on September 11, 2022.

What Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute Means to the Community

If anyone doubts how much the Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute means to the community, they should talk to Alison Junquera.

Junquera’s son, Drew, attends the Culinary Arts Program at Tilly Foster, which teaches special needs students the skills needed in the food service industry. Drew, 18, spent this summer interning at Bacio, an Italian restaurant in Westchester.

“My son has autism,” Junquera said at a meeting of the Physical Services Committee of the Putnam County Legislature on August 25. “Because of the farm and the BOCES program, he now has an opportunity for a fulfilling career. He has a focus and a sense of purpose. I am here tonight to tell you how grateful I am for this program and how wonderful it has been for my son and for all the students involved.”

During the meeting Thursday at The Barn at Tilly Foster, officials from Putnam County and its partner non-profit agencies spoke about the history of the farm, its importance to the environment, the many community-focused activities that it provides and how Tilly Foster has boosted Putnam County tourism.

Tilly Foster has become a destination farm, said Tracey Walsh, Putnam’s director of tourism, who noted that the farm draws visitors from throughout the tri-state area.

“Agritourism has the ability to put a small town, or a small county like Putnam, on the map,” Walsh said at the committee meeting. “Research has shown that a tourist will travel up to 200 miles to visit a destination farm. Families come here, they visit with the animals, see the garden and the art, fish, shop at Jar Worthy, picnic and unplug – except for the obligatory Instagram post.”

They also come for the summer concert series, which farm General Manager Katie Hanrahand said brought in a record-setting 7,500 visitors this year; for weddings, which are booked through 2024; and for dining at Tilly’s Table.

But Tilly Foster hasn’t always been this popular. Putnam County bought the farm in 2002 to protect its nearly 200 acres from becoming a condominium development, John Tully, Putnam’s deputy commissioner of highways, told the committee. The purchase was made using Water Quality Funds from the East of Hudson watershed agreement with New York City.

Initially, the county leased the land to a non-profit farm and educational museum, but in 2014, under Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s leadership, the county took over management of the farm.

The Odell administration asked the public what it wanted to see take place at the property. Residents formed subcommittees on agriculture, health and education, business and economic development, soil and water, infrastructure and tourism.

“That’s how we got the farm we have today, with its infrastructure restored, its diverse offerings for people of all ages and its wonderful experiences,” County Executive Odell said after the meeting. “We simply listened to the public and we did what they wanted. The groups were smart and forward-thinking, and I’m grateful for their vision. ”

Chris Ruthven, Putnam County’s deputy commissioner of parks, told the committee about partnering with the Watershed Agricultural Council to ensure water quality and creating a working landscape that is focused on conservation. The county restored the pond on the property and stocked it with fish that kids can catch and release. The county is in the process of acquiring an additional 135 acres.

“We’ve been very good stewards of this land,” Ruthven said. “This is a showcase for different techniques and a model for other landowners.”

The garden at Tilly Foster provides vegetables and herbs for Tilly’s Table Restaurant, the county Office for Senior Resources and a farmstand for the public, Lisa Walker, farm administrator, said. Walker doesn’t only oversee the farm, which grows dozens of varieties of vegetables, she looks after the farm’s many animals, including Alpaca, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Kunekune Pigs, Ducks, Sardinian Donkeys and Percheron Horses – and works with Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES’ Animal Care program at Tilly Foster.

Like BOCES’ Culinary Arts Program, the Animal Care Program prepares special needs students for careers, said Catherine Balestrieri, director of Career and Technical Education at PNW BOCES. Students can go on to work at veterinary offices, farms or in pet services.

Balestrieri said that BOCES is also considering other career-focused programs for Tilly Foster.

Putnam County has also partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension, which has hosted the Farm Agribusiness Summit and Open House on the Farm and the Master Gardener Plant Sale at Tilly Foster. It has also created a Pollinator Pathway, and runs a sustainable beekeeping operation, selling its honey at Jar Worthy, the candle and apothecary shop at the farm.

“More than 4,300 people from Brooklyn to Ohio and Utica to New Jersey have come to learn with CCE at Tilly Foster Farm,” said Stefanie Hubert, Executive Director Cornell Cooperative Extension, Putnam County.

Cornell has plans to expand at Tilly Foster, including creating a food forest and a zero-energy greenhouse and offering classes on food preservation and composting.

“The money the farm generates offsets the cost of running it,” Committee Chairman Carl L. Albano said. “But the value of this farm is about more than money. Our community deserves something like this.”

County Executive Odell, who plans to step down at the end of this year said she has high hopes for the future of Tilly Foster.

“I hope that the farm and educational center will continue to evolve, to work with our partners to best serve our community, provide fun activities and keep our families connected to nature.”