CARMEL, NY – For her seventh State of the County address, which was held at Putnam County Golf Course on Thursday, March 15, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell proudly proclaimed that the county was moving in the right direction, highlighted by dramatic reductions in county debt obligations, stable tax rates, key infrastructure investments at various points along the Route 6 corridor and with the construction of a new senior center in Cold Spring and the renovation of the Carmel senior center. A large portion of the beginning of the speech was dedicated to county employees, first responders and many volunteers who worked together in the recovery efforts following two major nor’easter storms that wreaked havoc on the Hudson Valley region earlier this month.
“The two-fisted winter storm punches that we received over the last two weeks showed the fierce dedication of our volunteers and first responders,” Odell said. “Highway workers, police, fire, EMS and the many, many, volunteers and public servants that responded ensured that our residents were protected. That’s what we do in Putnam County. We all pull together during times of adversity.”
Putnam County had its Emergency Command Center open for eight days continuously beginning March 2. By the end of Day 1, Putnam 9-1-1 had received 1,135 calls for assistance and had dispatched 818 police, 150 fire department and 40 EMS calls.
The storms caused more than 25,000 homes and businesses to lose their electricity. Odell thanked the organizations that set up comfort stations, overnight shelters and hot meals for those suffering without power.
She officially declared 2018 the Year of the Volunteer in Putnam County to show her appreciation for the impact on our community that the volunteers have throughout the year and especially stepping up when the Putnam County residents need it most.
When discussing how her administration has kept Putnam County moving in the right direction, Odell noted that in addition to delivering budgets that are under the tax cap, the total debt summary of the county has decreased by $30.4m or 29%, since she took office in 2011. Putnam County also continues to have the lowest tax bill of any of the 62 counties in New York State, while maintaining its Aa2 Moody’s Bond Rating.
“We have been able to do this without major layoffs or tax hikes,” she said. “We found efficiencies and still found ways to invest in our county assets—Putnam County Golf Course and Tilly Foster Farm, so they can be sustainable and be enjoyed by all the residents.”
Looking ahead, Odell spoke about the renovation of the Carmel Senior Center and the building of the new Cold Spring Senior Center. She also mentioned the sewer and wastewater treatment projects in Lake Carmel, Brewster and Mahopac as ways to protect the environment and allow responsible commercial development and protect the residential neighborhoods.
“We continue to move Putnam County in the right direction, with smart growth and key investments all while maintaining a solid financial operation,” said Odell. “We do this by finding efficiencies and communicating with the Putnam County Legislature and our department heads to provide the highest quality of services at the least expense to the taxpayer. It’s a successful and responsible model that we look to continue in 2018 and beyond to maintain and build upon the great quality of life we all enjoy here in Putnam.”