Putnam County Awarded $100,000 for Airport Park Drainage

CARMEL, NY – County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that Putnam County will receive a $100,000 grant through New York’s State and Municipal Facilities Program to conduct drainage improvements to Airport Park in Mahopac. Airport Park is a county-owned property that was leased to the Town of Carmel in 2005 for 99-years. The drainage improvements will, among other things, improve water quality to downstream wetlands and surrounding water bodies, rectify water runoff issues, reducing phosphorous in runoff at Lake McGregor which abuts Airport Park.

“When different layers of government can work together the taxpayers win,” said County Executive Odell. “The Town of Carmel will be doing a major transformation of Airport Park to better serve its residents. Putnam County was able to apply for a state grant that provides a better foundation for the project. By working together, we are able to conduct needed upgrades to the property with funding help from New York State.”

The $100,000 grant will be administered through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

County Executive Odell and Sheriff Langely celebrate Flag Day with St James’ students

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Sheriff Robert Langely Jr. and Director of Veterans Services, Karl Rohde, honored Flag Day on Tuesday, June 14 by hosting a small ceremony at the Row of Honor in Carmel with students from St. James School.

“It is great to be out here along the shores of Lake Gleneida with the students of St. James School, which truly represent our future,” said County Executive Odell. “We teach our children to stand and say the Pledge of Allegiance, but on Flag Day we take a moment and focus on what the flag itself stands for. It stands for unity, freedom, democracy and the hope for a better tomorrow.”

In the VFW ritual we say at memorial ceremonies:  “lets us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor”. Said Director of Veterans services, Karl Rohde, When I see our dear old flag this quote comes to mind as I remember my comrades who gave their lives so that we may be free.  Always stand and honor our dear old flag.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

 

**Pictured John Duncan, Art Hanley, County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Sheriff Robert Langley, Karl Rohde.

Putnam County-Wide Shared Services Panel Meets to Increase Inter-governmental Cooperation

A Putnam County-wide Shared Services Panel, that includes every Mayor and Supervisor located within the County, has been convened earlier this year by Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell to develop a County-wide Shared Services Plan to find ways to increase government efficiency and reduce spending. The Panel also includes members from the County’s Fiscal Vision and Accountability Committee to leverage that longstanding group’s progress to date. This is part of a state-wide initiative on sharing services that the New York Governor established.

The Putnam County-wide Shared Services Panel met for the second time yesterday to continue their work to identify opportunities for reducing government costs and improving service delivery.

County Executive Odell said, “This is a great opportunity to get everyone at the table to explore ways to save money by partnering together”

The County hired a municipal planning and consulting firm, the Laberge Group, to facilitate the Panel meetings and assist with drafting the County-wide Shared Services Plan. The Panel is exploring opportunities, both county-wide and between particular local municipalities, where it might make sense to partner and share equipment and resources.

Yesterday’s meeting included specific roundtable discussions focusing on Public Works, Personnel Services, Dog Control and Shelters, Information Technology, and Tax Assessment. These discussions included the school district and local public works administrators, and focused on ways to increase inter-governmental cooperation throughout the County.

The County Executive is grateful to the Chief Elected Leaders, and the school, municipal and highways administrators that participated in these productive discussions.

The County-wide Shared Service Panel expects to draft a County-wide Shared Services Plan by August, which will then be reviewed by the County Legislature and the public, through a public hearing process that will be announced separately.

For additional information on the Putnam County-wide Shared Services Initiative, please contact the County Executive’s office at 845-808-1001.

Road Repairs Begin Along Route 6

CARMEL, NY –  County Executive MaryEllen Odell is pleased to report that the milling and repaving of Route 6 in Carmel has begun. Paleen Construction of Somers has started on the New York State Department of Transportation project, which is expected to be done in two phases. The first phase of the project will repair Route 6 from Reed Library to Route 312. The second phase will repair Route 6 Route 6 at Willow Road to Route 52 (Gleneida Avenue) at Route 301.

“The safety and well-being of the people of Putnam continue to be my No. 1 priority and repaving this section of Route 6 will make the roadway safe once again,” said Odell. “Legislator Carl Albano and I have been in communication with the State DOT to make sure that the project is done efficiently and effectively.”

The repaving will require a road grinder to mill the existing surface, then the company needs to pour and grade the new asphalt. The work will be done in sections and as each section is completed it will be useable right away. The first phase is expected to take two to three weeks to complete.

There is a second phase of the repaving project is expected to begin in the late summer or early fall.

Remembering a lost colleague inspires a new Row of Honor Ceremony

CARMEL, NY – In remembrance of Richard Farrell of Yorktown, who worked for the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency, County Executive MaryEllen Odell joined his family, friends, colleagues and fellow members of Mahopac VFW Post 5491 at the Row of Honor along the shores of Lake Gleneida in Carmel, NY on Wednesday, May 30. Collectively, the group purchased six American flags in Farrell’s honor.

“Today is the day that Memorial Day was recognized for 200 years, and in Putnam County, we pay homage to those soldiers we have lost on both the observed federal holiday as well as the traditional holiday,” said County Executive Odell. “Today we are honoring Richard, who was a dedicated soldier and an incredibly generous man. This ceremony has inspired us. Every year on the traditional Memorial Day, we will a remembrance service at the Row of Honor to honor every Veteran from Putnam who passed away the previous year.”

Farrell, who served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam Conflict and was a member of the New York City Fire Department with Engine Co. 80/Ladder 23, and retired as a Fire Marshall in 1989, died on Dec. 4, 2017.

“Rich was a great friend and colleague,” said Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde. “He is missed by all who knew him. The flags that were dedicated to him in the Row of Honor pay tribute to his friendliness and wise counsel and will help carry on his legacy for years to come. He will not be forgotten.”

The Putnam County Veterans Service Agency will work in cooperation with the local Veterans organizations to collect the names. Residents can submit names to the agency. Each name will be read at the remembrance ceremony on May 30.

To submit a name to the Putnam County Veterans Service Agency. call 845-808-1620 or email putnamvets@putnamcountyny.gov

Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell (right) and Putnam County Veterans Service Agency Director Karl Rohde applaud Richard Farrell’s wife Eileen and their daughters after they spoke about him at the remembrance ceremony held in his honor at the Row of Honor on Wednesday, May 30.

The Public is Invited to Attend Shared Services Panel Meeting and Round Table Discussions with Consultant

Dear Mayors and Supervisors,

We invite you to attend our next County-Wide Shared Services Initiative Panel meeting on Thursday, June 7th at 6:30pm at the Putnam County Training and Operations Center located at 112 Old Route 6 in Carmel.

As you may recall, New York State has recently mandated that each County Executive convene a County-Wide Shared Services Panel that must consist of all mayors and supervisors.  This meeting will be our second Shared Services Panel meeting to ultimately draft a County-Wide Shared Services Plan for 2019 (by August).

Our meeting agenda is to discuss each of your municipality’s areas of mutual interest to share services based on your Shared Services Survey responses that you are completing for the Laberge Group.  The Laberge Group will send a meeting agenda under separate cover.

We encourage you to invite your respective municipal boards to also attend and even provide input.   Please let us know if you are interested to arrange for a town/village specific discussion with your Board on the 31st.  This would be considered a simultaneous meeting of the Shared Services Panel and your respective local government, if you had a large enough body of members attending so as to constitute a legal quorum.  Please remember to also post a legal notice for such a Village/Town Board meeting (workshop) at the above time and place if you are interested to formalize their input on the 7th.

We are also inviting representation from each of the public school districts and BOCES within the County.

AS discussed at our previous panel meeting, we will separately contact you to arrange other round table discussions with the right people on that same date, to take a “deeper dive” into specific areas based on your survey responses.  The anticipated discussion topics and times for those discussions are attached hereto.

If you have not already done so, we appreciate if you could please complete your Shared Services Survey and return to Dennis Pilla at the Laberge Group (DPilla@labergegroup.com).

You can also contact Dennis by email or phone (914-563-9978) if you have any questions about the survey or if you had trouble receiving, opening, or sending the electronic file.

We look forward to continuing our combined efforts to increase inter-municipal cooperation in Putnam County in order to reduce costs for our taxpayers.  Thank you,

Pancake Breakfast honors Armed Forces Day and kicks off Spring Row of Honor

CARMEL, NY – About 100 people recognized Armed Forces Day and celebrated the launch of the spring Row of Honor, that perched along the shores of Lake Gleneida, by participating in the annual pancake breakfast held by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council at the Carmel VFW Hall on Sunday, May 20.

Armed Forces Day was first observed on May 20, 1950 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the U.S. Department of Defense. It was intended to replace the separate Army-, Navy-, Air Force-, Marine Corps- and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.

“It makes sense to start the spring Row of Honor season on Armed Forces Day,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “Just like Armed Forces Day, our flags represent those who have served and those who continue to serve in our five U.S. military branches.”

She added. “There is something so special about looking out on Lake Gleneida and seeing those flags dance in the wind so freely. It makes you take a moment and remember that there was a cost to our safety and freedom. These flags are a thank you to those who sacrificed of themselves, so we could live a blessed life.”

Twice a year, for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, over 300 flags with the names of Veterans line the shore of Lake Gleneida. This historic observation has become a cherished tradition for residents and has drawn national attention to Putnam County.

“A sense of pride and sadness fills me when I see the Row of Honor,” said Veteran Karl Rohde, Director of the County’s Veterans Service Agency. “Pride because it is an obvious show of patriotism and love for our country.  It makes me sad because it reminds me of my comrades who have lost their lives serving with honor under that flag.”

With a $100 donation, the name of your loved one can appear on a flag. The proceeds will go toward Veterans Peer-to-Peer projects.

The flags will remain up through July 21, when the inaugural Medal of Honor Parade will be held pass by them. The parade, which begins at 1 p.m., will launch from Paladin Center, located at 39 Seminary Hill Road and end at the corner of Route 52 and Fair Street in Carmel.

To RSVP for the pancake breakfast or 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.

Governor Cuomo and County Executive Odell Survey Storm Damage in Putnam County

PUTNAM VALLEY, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell led Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state representatives through the storm ravaged areas in Putnam Valley to show the damage incurred from the Tuesday evening’s storms that left a trail of destruction throughout the Hudson Valley. At a press conference held in Putnam Valley, the Governor and County Executive gave an update on the recovery efforts.

Odell activated the incident command structure at Putnam County Government at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. By 6:36 p.m. she declared a state of emergency. The 9-1-1 dispatch center fielded more than 1,800 calls Tuesday night. There were 30,000 customers without power and 144 roads closed.

County Executive Odell said that NYSEG and Central Hudson have been embedded in the EOC and are in communication with the county and local officials. The county is working on its priority list of critical points, which includes getting power back on at Putnam Hospital Center, so it can be off its generator.

“It’s our hope today after the utility companies complete their safe mode and assessment that the county and local highway crews will begin to cut and clear the downed trees and poles,” County Executive Odell said. “Let’s be courteous, let’s be respectful and let’s remember we are all in this together and we will keep everyone in our prayers. We have been lucky in Putnam County. We did not suffer any fatalities.”

County Executive Odell added. “I want to thank our first responders, including our highway crews, which I think now with all of their experience we can include them in our first responder community have been on the ready and on the go. Keep in mind that they leave their houses and their families to get out there to try to get the roads open and to try to make sure that the community stays safe. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for sending his best and brightest again. We’re all getting to know each other I think too well over the last several months and storms. But we are working together on this. That’s important for everyone to know.”

As part of the recovery effort, the Governor has deployed 125 members of the New York National Guard and to further assist communities with recovery efforts. Currently, thousands of state and local personnel are on site in the affected areas with pre-deployed equipment to clear transportation corridors of debris and assess damage throughout the affected areas. In addition, a mobile command center is also en route that will be staffed by Department of Financial Services personnel to assist Putnam Valley residents with insurance claims.

“As these extreme weather events continue, New York is committed to stepping up our preparedness and ensuring that all impacted New Yorkers receive the assistance they need to recover and clean up after the storm,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re on the ground and are working tirelessly to restore power and help the affected communities recover as quickly as possible. The rain is expected to continue. That’s going to make the cleanup more difficult, not less difficult.”

Governor Cuomo added. “We’ll be bringing in an additional 1,100 to help clean up the mess. Department of Transportation is on site. They have hundreds of pieces of equipment. They’ll be working with the County Executive to coordinate resources as well as the local town supervisors. Department of Homeland Security for the state has hundreds of generators, 60,000 meals for people who may be displaced, et cetera. The Department of Public Service is working with the utilities. There has been an issue in terms of utility response and when you’re without power, any delay is too long and we understand that.”

Motorists are reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is “blacked out” and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically a “four way” stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.

The Department of Public Service has extended Call Center Helpline hours starting today, Wednesday, May 16, until 7:30 p.m., to assist consumers in their storm restoration efforts. The Department of Public Service Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377. If you are without power and you have an emergency, there are emergency generators, meals and water available, so call the hotline if that situation exists.

“Thank you very much and I’d like to thank the County Executive and Supervisor Sam Oliverio and all their teams that did extraordinary work,” said Governor Cuomo. “You know we tend to focus on the negative in these situations. What hasn’t been done, what power hasn’t been restored. We also need to remember that you had people out all night long in the storm starting early yesterday afternoon, putting themselves in danger. Leaving their families and working tremendously hard so the damage wasn’t worse. And we thank all of them and we truly appreciate their service.”

Metro-North Service on the northern Harlem Line between Southeast and Wassaic will resume this afternoon with the departure of the 3:43 p.m. train from Grand Central to Wassaic.

Putnam County Gets Additional $1.7 million from New York State to Repave Route 6

CARMEL, NY – After the County Executive met with Regional Director of New York State Department of Transportation Lance MacMillan, Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, along with Commissioner of Highways & Facilities Fred Pena, P.E. and other officials regarding the condition of state roads and the funding necessary to begin repairs as soon as the season allowed, we were notified that additional funding of $1.7 million would, in fact, be allocated to repair and resurface the area of Route 6 from the turn on Willow Road located at the Putnam Trailway hub and continuing to the intersection of Route 301 in the Hamlet of Carmel.

This funding is in addition to the previously announced allocation of funding to repair the Brewster Ave section of roadway starting at Reed Memorial Library and continuing to Route 312 in Southeast.

“My No. 1 priority continues to be the safety and well-being of the people of Putnam and repaving this section of Route 6 will make the roadway safe once again,” said Odell. “I appreciate Regional Director MacMillan taking our concerns seriously and expediting the process to repairing the state’s road. We are excited to know that the construction will begin in late May or early June.”

Legislator Carl Albano, who is Chairman of the Physical Service Committee and represents the area benefited by the repaving project, agrees with Odell.

“Driving along the Carmel portion of Route 6, east of the Reed Library, has been a concern for many in recent months and our hands were tied on a county-level,” said Albano. “I am pleased that our state representatives were willing to listen to County Executive Odell and make this a priority project for the DOT.”

“We appreciate the New York State DOT acknowledging the importance to our community, repairing one of our main business corridors and mostly traveled roads in the County” said Neal Sullivan, Chairman of the Rules, Enactments & intergovernmental Relations Committee.

Murphy and Byrne have supported the project helped make it a priority.

“This is welcomed news that we have been advocating for,” Byrne said. “Investing in our infrastructure, especially our roads, benefits all New Yorkers. More resources are needed for the Hudson Valley and I hope this is just the beginning.”

“The safety of our roads and infrastructure is directly tied to our economic growth and quality of life.” Murphy said. “I want to thank our partners at DOT for hearing our concerns and acting on them.  This is how government should work.”

The monies are part of more than $100 million in state funding to repave and enhance roadways impacted by the harsh weather this past winter. Funding will support 84 projects and the renewal of nearly 1,000 lane miles of pavement across the state, including at least one project in every county and New York City.

Photo:  Putnam County Commissioner of Highway and Facilities Fred Pena with MaryEllen Odell, County Executive.

Putnam County has Lowest Unemployment and Highest Home Sales Increase in the Hudson Valley

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that recent reports indicate that Putnam County has the lowest unemployment rate and highest home sales increase in the Hudson Valley, which provide evidence of county’s economic vitality.

“The numbers validate that the efforts we are making to drive Putnam County forward are working,” said County Executive Odell. “Our residents are highly qualified and well-trained, professional and non-professional alike. People are choosing to live and raise their families in Putnam County because we have a beautiful community that provides the highest quality of services to our residents while remaining fiscally responsible for our taxpayers.”

The New York Department of Labor’s monthly labor report showed that Putnam County had the lowest unemployment rate in the Hudson Valley region at 4.4% with the region’s average being 4.7%.

The Dutchess-Putnam Metropolitan Statistical Area saw a private sector job increase of 3.1% over the past, which made it the second fastest area of private sector growth behind Sullivan County. Sullivan County increased by 9.7%, which was largely the result of the recent opening of Resorts World Catskills Casino.  The Orange-Rockland-Westchester labor market area grew by 0.4%. Over the past year, private sector jobs in the Hudson Valley increased by 8,300 or 1.1%, to 786,700.

Education plays a significant role in Putnam’s high ranking for low unemployment as Putnam’s Director of Personnel Paul Eldridge pointed out.

“For many years Putnam County has enjoyed an educated and skilled workforce, with a high percentage per capita of persons with a Bachelor’s degree or highly skilled training. This makes them more attractive to employers both in Putnam County and neighboring areas.  With the added advantage of availability to the Metro-North Railroad and two superhighways, our residents have easy access to employment opportunities in surrounding counties,” said Eldridge.

Putnam County also had a 7.2% increase in home sales in the first quarter of 2018 as compared to the first quarter of 2017, according to the “2018 First Quarter Residential Real Estate Sales Report for Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange Counties, New York” report authored by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service Inc. It was the only county in the Hudson Valley to have an increase in home sales in a quarter to quarter comparison. In addition, it had the largest percentage increase in price (9.4%) for a single-family home—for a median price of $323,750 as compared to $296,000 for the first quarter of 2017.