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.”