A standing ovation to a local veteran, a cell phone app and highlighting her administration’s successful fiscal, environmental, infrastructure, public health and safety and social programs and projects were all part of County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s informative and entertaining State of the County Address presented to the public on Thursday, March 13 at the Putnam County Golf Course.
Watch the State of the County Address here: (The speech begins at 19:00 but we think you will really enjoy the beginning too.)
The highlight of the presentation was that in spite of the many federal and state underfunded programs Putnam must comply with, Odell said Commissioner of Finance William Carlin has worked diligently with her to ensure that Putnam stayed below the Albany tax cap by more than 50 percent in both 2012 and 2013. More surprisingly, under Odell’s leadership, despite the minor tax increases, the County was also able to significantly under-run its budget in 2012 and 2013. This under-run enabled the County to pay down its NYS Retirement System debt by $3.5 million and increase its insurance fund balance by $1 million. This fiscal responsibility was instrumental in ensuring the County maintained its Moody’s credit rating while every nearby County has been down-graded. .
Odell recounted her administration’s outreach to the private sector noting the rewarding and cost-effective blend of business and government personnel as she delivered her “Pathways to the Future” Power Point presentation.
- Odell praised the Highways and Facilities Department under the leadership of Commissioner Fred Pena for completing a number of major infrastructure projects including renovations at Putnam County Golf Course and restoring numerous county roads, bridges and dams.
- Odell, who proclaimed 2014 as “The Year of the Senior” presented an interview with 92-year-old Dr. Thomas D’Amico. At the end of the film clip during which D’Amico spoke about the difficulties of aging while praising the county-provided bus service which takes him to and from his medical appointments, the audience rose and gave the feisty World War II veteran a standing ovation.
- Odell also introduced the “Putnam County Cares” app. This easy to download smart phone app provides links to emergency services and offers tips on safe and healthy living.
- “We’ve designed an app that will bring information to the public at the speed of life,” Odell said. “The app is available now for Android phones and very shortly, it will be available for iPhones and iPads,” she said.
- The most important part of the app was the S.P.E.A.K. feature. S.P.E.A.K. is an acronym for Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness Kit and it is designed to help address the marked increase of suicides among Putnam residents. The app is tailored to the specific warning signs and needs of three distinct groups: veterans, teens and young adults and adults.
- And the end of her presentation Odell said she was proud of what her administration has been able to accomplish in its first 900 days.
- “We have worked every day to do one thing and that is to do the right thing for all the right reasons for all of the people of Putnam County,” she said.
View the slide presentation here: