The $164.2 million proposal, which is within the New York State tax cap, represents a spending increase of $477,000, or less than 1% over this year’s budget, and does not include any layoffs.
The average Putnam County homeowner, whose property is assessed at $357,000, would pay about $1,182 in county taxes under the plan, an increase of $25.
The budget, the ninth that Odell has prepared since she became County Executive in 2011, represents Odell’s fiscally conservative approach, and is contingent upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo providing the amount of state aid for which the state is responsible.
“Despite the coronavirus pandemic creating a difficult year that resulted in an estimated 9.5% decrease in sales tax revenue, we have managed to present a budget that avoids employee layoffs and preserves the services that our county residents rely upon and deserve,” Odell said. “If the governor goes through with his threat to withhold 20% of our state aid, however, then we, along with every other county in the state, will have no choice but to reassess.”
Other budget highlights include the consolidation of dispatching services into the Bureau of Emergency Services and the addition of an EMS Education Coordinator, funded mostly through fee revenue. Odell noted that her administration continues to meet the need of strengthening the Bureau of Emergency Services.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic, combined with the continued major storms that affect Putnam County, the need to strengthen our Bureau of Emergency Services and our incident command center has never been greater,” Odell said.
County Executive Odell noted that this budget process has been particularly challenging due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Despite increases in mandated employee benefit costs such as health insurance and retirement, we eliminated some vacant positions, allowed very few equipment purchases and decreased overtime funding in this budget,” Odell said.
She further stated: “Our department heads have done a great job of helping me craft a budget proposal that is really bare bones, and I believe that they, along with all our employees, will successfully execute this plan, which meets our social and fiscal responsibilities to the people of Putnam County.”
In closing, County Executive Odell said: “We recognize the difficult times that are upon us and have responded accordingly. I can only hope the governor does the same when it comes to distributing state aid.”
This year, County Executive Odell will give her annual budget summary presentation to the Legislature on Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m., via telephone, without the usual public hearing at the Putnam County Golf Course, in order to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. The meeting will be available to the public via audiocast on the county’s website, putnamcountyny.gov.
The Legislature is expected to revise and adopt the 2021 budget by November 1.