PUTNAM POSTING: Small County, Big Obstacles

Jennifer Maher | April 2017

Jennifer Maher

The 7th annual gathering of Putnam County leadership was held on April 2 at the Spain Cornerstone Park in Carmel. Federal, state, county, town and village elected officials attended an informal roundtable conversation on items the Putnam County Chamber considers its legislative priorities. A lively exchange ensued and some action items were identified.

From the county perspective, it was important to plan for future improvement of the business climate, having the sales tax actually work on behalf of the people and businesses of this county, arrange for our natural assets to be a benefit to us and to promote and build Putnam County as an attractive place to live, work and play.

Statewide, some major issues persist, such as mandate relief, Wicks Law repeal and a reform of the Public Construction Works Act, Scaffold Law repeal, a reform of SEQRA, questions over Indian Point’s impending closure and the final repeal of the Section 18-a energy gross receipts assessment.

We look to federal officials for the proper return of distributions, the future (or non-future) of the Affordable Care Act, and how to reduce regulatory burdens on area businesses.

Representatives were present from all municipalities including Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith, Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy and towns except for Philipstown and Cold Spring. The DEP was, as usual, a main topic of discussion and the consensus was to work along with county officials to change the current rules. We must revise the restrictions on the N.Y.C. Watershed area to allow responsible traffic, water and waste management projects that will allow the local municipalities to serve our residential and commercial needs in this 21st century and the DEP should be asked to pay their fair share of taxes to support all the land they hold in this county. All agreed that more communication is crucial to our mission. Municipalities agreed to consider properties that could be developed, identify new and attractive businesses, help match them with existing vacancies, and coordinate all parties to pursue needed funding and infrastructure improvements.

Finally, all participants felt concern over the drug crisis and the need to give our all to overcome the addiction problem.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is chairwoman, the Putnam County Business Council and currently serves as the president of the Putnam/Westchester Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors.