CARMEL, N.Y. -- Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell unveiled a proposed 2017 budget that, she says, will “protect taxpayers, preserve essential services and promote economic growth” -- all while keeping within the state mandated tax cap limit of 1 percent.
The $153.1 million spending plan was aired at a meeting of the County Legislature at the Putnam County Golf Course on Thursday, Oct. 6.
The proposed budget represents an increase of about $3 million, or less than 1 percent, Odell said, adding that county property taxes would rise by about $10 for the average homeowner.
In her presentation, the county chief strove to correct, her office said, “several areas of contention and misinformation associated with the county’s fiscal policies.”
“It is important that the 2017 county budget be analyzed and debated using factual information, not opinion,” she told the assemblage.
The three main issues Odell touched on involved the county’s bonding debt, its spending practices and the fate of the proposed Butterfield Senior Center in Cold Spring.
Odell said Putnam’s bonding debt has shrunk about 15 percent. It was $88.3 million in 2007; it is now $76.5 million, she said.
Odell also reminded the audience that Putnam County has been ranked the second lowest in expenditures per capita among all 57 NYS counties outside of New York City.
Finally, Odell tackled the issue of the long-debated Butterfield Senior Center, stressing, among other points, that the county “was never going to pay 50 percent 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 percent of the property tax on the Lahey Pavilion only," Odell said.
“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,” she said.
The budget address, she added, gave her the chance 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.”
Odell’s office made note of an error on one of the slides that was shown during the budget address.
Slide 93 involved a grant received from state Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, for construction on the Butterfield Senior Center project. The amount was stated as $100,000; the actual amount is $250,000.