Putnam plans to split sales tax revenue and federal COVID aid

PUTNAM COUNTY, NY — Putnam County leaders want to distribute $10 million to villages and towns in the county from federal funding received in 2021 as part of the U.S. bailout and sales tax revenue.

The Legislative Assembly is due to vote on the bills at its July 5 regular meeting.

The final part of the revenue-sharing plan is unprecedented, Putnam County Legislature Speaker Neal Sullivan said at the rules committee meeting in June.

I know cities have been asking us for a long time to share sales tax and it’s really great that the county is now able to discuss and think about it,” he said. “We don’t we’ve never been able to do this before. .”

Municipal leaders from across the county turned out for the committee meeting to support County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s $10 million proposal.

She proposed that $5 million in county sales tax funding be allocated to Putnam’s six towns and three villages for local infrastructure projects.

“The county’s strong financial position has allowed us to invest in the future, including a new ‘Share the Growth’ plan, in which the county will increase the amount of sales tax it shares with municipalities based on county sales tax revenue growth. “, Odell said in an announcement. “Because they are tied to the amount of growth, the funds cannot be counted as a regular source of income.

She also recommended that $5 million of the county’s $19.1 million U.S. bailout funding from 2021 go to municipalities.

It’s the first public proposal to award federal funds since February’s controversial decision to allocate $400,000 to his profitable golf course to repair water damage and remove asbestos.

The county’s ARPA distribution will otherwise primarily focus on school safety, mental health and addictions, food insecurity, clean water, sewers, roads and bridges, and buildings. In addition, county officials are paying $30,000 for consultancy services they claim were necessary to administer the ARPA program.

Not everyone is supportive. Lawmaker Paul Jonke called it a “gift” and said lawmakers would need more time to consider the proposal.

“I’ve used the term ‘reckless’ in the past and I’ve been told that’s too harsh a word,” Jonke said. “It’s reckless.”

However, Odell said in his June 30 statement that “time is running out.”

“The costs of fuel and food, as well as inflation will only increase the costs of these projects if we delay the process, which could have a detrimental and negative impact on many of these projects, programs and initiatives. .

“Those dollars need to get out ASAP,” Odell said. “We are clearly going to have a very difficult winter season with fuel costs that will impact all of our businesses and residents. I look forward to signing the agreements as soon as the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly sends them down the hall.

Proposed projects

  • School Safety – $2,000,000. The county will create a “Team for School Safety” effort in which Sheriff Kevin J. McConville and Commissioner of Human Services and Mental Health Michael J. Piazza, Jr. will work with school district superintendents across of the county to identify improvements to ensure safety. students and staff.
  • Public Safety Software – $1,500,000. The county will purchase a new computer aided dispatch (CAD)/records management/jail management system. This technology will improve the ability of our first responder community to communicate and coordinate more effectively, thereby improving public safety.
  • Police, Fire and EMS Subscriber Radios – $2,500,000. The county will purchase subscriber radios for first responder agencies through the Putnam County Radio Project. This new interoperable communication system will allow the first responder community to more effectively respond to emergencies across the county.
  • County road infrastructure and equipment – $5,012,507. The county will allocate $600,000 for the purchase of road equipment and $4,412,507 for various road and bridge repairs throughout the county. Use of ARPA funds will allow the county to avoid borrowing $5 million to complete these projects, continuing the successful debt reduction plan executed over the past 11 years.
  • Putnam County Crisis Stabilization Center – $2,500,000. The county will partner with People USA to create a 24/7 Community Crisis Center, a place where people of all ages can connect immediately with a range of healthcare professionals and providers to address mental health, addictions and/or social determinants needs. ARPA funds will finance two years of expenses.
  • Mobile Pantry Program – $130,000. The county will partner with Putnam CAP to create a mobile pantry program in Putnam County. The funds would be used to purchase a vehicle and fund an outreach worker to help volunteers and deliver food and educate beneficiaries about other services they may be eligible for.
  • Pantry refrigeration units – $25,000. The county will provide funding to Second Chance Foods to expand on-site cold storage to their food pantry to enable them to serve more customers.
  • Town and Village Infrastructure Projects – $5,000,000. The county will provide $5,000,000 in ARPA funding, combined with $5,000,000 in sales tax funding to the 6 towns and three villages of Putnam County to complete vital water and sewer infrastructure projects , food insecurity, roads, bridges and buildings across Putnam County. These projects have been reviewed and approved by the members of the Putnam County Legislative Assembly whose districts they represent.

Putnam Valley Supervisor Jacqueline Annabi said if approved, her city would use the money for projects involving lakes, clean water and sewers.

“These were projects we had to do but we just didn’t have the money,” Annabi said.

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