Odell Presents 153.1M Budget and Sets Record Straight on County Fiscal Policies
Proposed Budget Falls within NYS Property Tax Cap of 1%
County Executive MaryEllen Odell unveiled her proposed $153.1 million budget for 2017 on Thursday, October 6, at the Putnam County Golf Course. At the widely attended meeting of the County Legislature, Odell’s presentation emphasized correction to several areas of contention and misinformation associated with the county’s fiscal policies.
For a fifth consecutive year, the proposed 2017 budget promises to protect tax payers, preserve essential services and promote economic growth, while falling within the tax cap limit of 1%. This minor increase will translate to a county property tax increase of about $10 for the average homeowner next year. Odell’s is the sixth consecutive budget that uses less from the General Fund Surplus than the previous year.
As a preface to the budget address, Odell covered three issues that have been publicly misrepresented, and misunderstood. “It is important that the 2017 County Budget be analyzed and debated using factual information, not opinion,” said Odell. Her discussion rendered a factual accounting of the County’s bonding debt, which has decreased 15% from $88.3M in 2007 to $76.5M in 2016. On the topic of government spending, Odell reminded the audience that Putnam County ranked second lowest in expenditures per capita of all 57 NYS counties outside of New York City. Adding to that, the 2017 proposed budget represents a total increase in spending of $3M since 2014, which is less than a 1% increase per year. Finally, she addressed the long-debated Butterfield Senior Center, stressing, among other points, that the county was never going pay 50% of the property tax for the entire Butterfield Campus. The original lease agreement consistently refers to the county’s occupied portion, which is 52.0833% of the property tax on the Lahey Pavilion only.
“My promise to Putnam taxpayers has always been to provide a transparent, effective and honest local government that is dedicated to meeting the needs of its citizens,” said Odell. “This evening’s address has afforded me the opportunity to present a factual representation of how our taxpayers’ money is spent and responsibly invested to meet the long-term fiscal and social needs of the county.”
The county’s use of public/private partnerships, which is exemplified by the new Tilly Foster Educational Institute, as well as plans to build better infrastructure across the county, will continue to create an environment that sustains and attracts businesses to Putnam in 2017.
A video and slides of the 2017 Proposed Budget Address can be viewed in its entirety on the county website at: putnamcountyny.com/budget2017.
EDITOR’S NOTE: During the Budget Address, a slide (#93) was presented, which included an error regarding a grant received from Senator Sue Serino for construction on the Butterfield Senior Center. The amount stated was $100,000. The actual amount is $250,000. If you are including any information on this topic, please take care to use the correct dollar amount.