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Putnam Moves

“Putnam Moves” To Get A Rebranding, New Logo

 

As our county reinvents itself for a new, robust economic future, the new public transportation system called “Putnam Moves” is about to get a major redesign.   Four key tenets of the new system, namely community, commerce, nature and recreation, will be the focus of a logo design contest open to students from grades K-12 who reside in Putnam County.  Major efficiency updates to the county’s public transportation system include revamped routes which are expected to be announced in the spring of 2014. The deadline for contest entries is March 5th. The student submitting the winning design will receive a $500 scholarship.

“I believe that there is no better marketing team out there to promote our county transportation system.  I was thrilled to have the Putnam Chambers agree to partner with the Transportation Advisory Council and county government,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “To have their support and expertise in marketing not only our transit system, but our Main Street economy continues to be a major focus of the administration. We are in good hands.”

Students should enter the contest via the “Putnam Moves” Contest tab on the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce Facebook Fan Page (http://a.pgtb.me/8VNz8f) or via the chamber’s website, www.putnamchamberny.org. Artwork should be presented in a JPEG, GIF or PNG file. The winning entry will be selected by the Putnam County Transportation Advisory Council with the final approval of the County Executive.  Winners will be notified via email; children under 18 must have their entries approved and submitted by a parent.  The winner will be announced by County Executive, MaryEllen Odell at the State of the County address on March 13th.

All submitted logo designs will be on display at the Putnam County Golf Club on March 21st as part of the inaugural meeting of the Putnam Women’s Leadership Alliance.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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Review of 2013

953 South Lake Blvd, Mahopac, NY 10541

Phone: 845 228-8595, e-mail: info@putnamchamberny.org

 

Review of 2013

 

As we look forward to the New Year of 2014, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce can take pride and satisfaction with our accomplishments and progress in the short time since our beginning in late 2010.  Building on our past successes, 2013 was a very good year.

 

We kicked off the Year 2013 with the exciting 2012 Trailblazer 40 Under 40 Awards event in January.  This inaugural event honored up and coming young leaders from every area of Putnam County in the largest, most festive celebration of our business community anyone could remember.

 

The PC CofC continued its commitment to bring together our elected officials with each other and with Putnam’s business community during our annual Elected Officials Forum in March.  This casual meeting of our representatives from the federal to the village level has proven to be a positive opportunity to express concerns and share ideas.  We presented to results of the surveys these officials had requested in our 2012 Forum and also the findings of our Industry Cluster Task Force, which identified Commercial Recreation and Arts & Culture as two areas that fit well with Putnam’s unique character and available resources.

 

In April, we joined with the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation to host the Consolidated Funding Applications (CFA) Workshop.  Our partnership with the PCEDC, and its President Meghan Taylor, has helped our county score well with the Regional Economic Development Council in the competition for state funding.  Brewster, Carmel and Cold Spring came out as specific winners, but many others are now aware and ready to use this process in the next round.

 

We made a significant effort to monitor and participate in the government processes that affect our business community.  Our comments were heard in the County Legislature on item pricing, a smoking ban, energy issues and budget issues.  Our participation in the Transportation Advisory Task Force helped produce a forward looking plan for our public bus system and how we will provide for those with special needs.  We co-hosted a purchasing workshop to explain the procedures for our businesses to successfully bid on the many government contracts available at the state and municipal level.

 

 

Our Meet & Greet the Candidates event in August provided a non-partisan program for all the candidates in the 2013 elections to present themselves to the public in a friendly, neutral atmosphere.  We later co-hosted a candidate debates forum with the League of Women Voters of Putnam County.

 

The PC CofC built on the information of the Industry Cluster Task Force and the comments at the Elected Officials Forum to create our Community Initiatives Program working on specific projects in each of our six towns to enhance the viability of the commercial districts.  Parking, sewer and water districts, street lighting and a master plan have all moved forward thanks to the efforts with our local Chambers.

 

Putnam’s business community shined brightly at the 2013 Shop Home and Business EXPO in May.  It was truly a county-wide event led by an energetic committee from the Mahopac Chamber and hosted at the Putnam Hospital Center.

 

Throughout the year, the PC CofC Constant Contact and Facebook messages have brought the events and messages of the business community to everyone’s attention.  The citizens of Putnam are aware that our business community is available and working on their behalf.

 

This year’s Trailblazer Success Awards, to be celebrated on Friday, January 31, 2014, is an affirmation of the vitality at all levels of Putnam’s business community – Emerging, Established, Mature, Environmentally Engaged and Socially Conscious.

 

The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce looks forward to an even more exciting and productive New Year in 2014.  We will continue to advocate for the interests of our business community and work with our member Chambers to enhance the conditions and opportunities that will make Putnam County the great place we all want to live and work in.

 

 

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Governor’s Budget Proposal Offers Putnam Hope But Also Challenges

Governor’s Budget Proposal Offers Putnam Hope But Also Challenges

 

On Tuesday, January 21, Governor Cuomo spelled out his 2014-’15 budget proposal, an ambitious plan that calls for numerous incentives to spur business growth, Universal Pre-K and publicly funded political campaigns, among many other features.   Under his plan, state spending would remain below the self-imposed 2% cap that has been a hallmark of recentAlbanybudgets.  He also called for numerous state spending cuts, additional staff to help implement the plan for new commercial upstate casinos, phase out the 18-a assessment on electrical bills more quickly, and freeze state property taxes for two years.

From an overall business perspective, it seems positive.  Heather Briccetti, President/CEO of the Business Council of New York State, said “There is much for business to be encouraged about with the emphasis on holding growth in overall state spending to under 2 percent while promoting private sector investments and job creation, and increasing in-state personal income, through broad-based business tax relief.”   The Business Council of Westchester’s Marsha Gordon added, “…achieving these goals must be a priority in the state Capitol so that businesses all across New York can expand, thrive and succeed in the years to come.”

The picture for Putnam is a bit less clear.   Some communities, such asCarmel, have voted to exceed the 2% cap on spending, and continuing that policy means we residents wouldn’t be eligible for the property tax freeze.   Plus, the second year of the property tax freeze would require communities to adopt shared services and consolidation, a daunting prospect in a county with multiple villages used to working independently.  Being within theMTAregion, Putnam’s manufacturers would also be ineligible for any of the tax breaks being afforded those further upstate.   We should view this budget with cautious optimism but also the realization that much of its benefits will be felt elsewhere inNew YorkState.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, thePutnamCountyChambers of Commerce

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CFA Awards Bring Putnam Optimism But Also A Challenge

CFA Awards Bring Putnam Optimism But Also A Challenge        

 

The annual round of CFA (consolidated funding applications) awards are in and the Mid-Hudson Region received $59.6 million for 87 projects, far behind some regions but still a hefty amount of economic development support.  Thanks to some hard work largely in part by Putnam EDC President Meghan Taylor, Putnam County will receive state funding for three major initiatives totaling $1,175,000.00  which is less than one half percent of the regions total.  The largest sum goes to Clear Solution Labs, LLC, who is moving to the old Watson building in Brewster and plans to produce health and beauty products at their new manufacturing site.  They garnered $1,000,000 of the CFA funds.   The Town of Philipstown was promised $100,000 to link Constitution Island to the Beacon train station via a multi-use trail.  Finally, the village of Cold Spring will receive $75,000 from NYSERDA to develop new zoning and historic district standards for their waterfront district. The Village of Brewster was also successful with $175,000 being added to their “Envision Brewster” efforts.

These are all great initiatives.  It would be very beneficial, however, if we could develop a more comprehensive approach to applying for CFA grants and put Putnam in the running to receive significantly more funding.  It appeared that much of the county was learning the process and playing catch-up, which may have put us at a disadvantage in the race for state dollars.  Remember, each region is judged against each other in this annual competition, and our neighboring regions certainly are skilled at making the case for support.  For example, the Capital Region received $82.8 million across 100 projects, and Long Island received $83 million for 98 projects.   New York City, which did relatively poorly in this year’s competition, will certainly be ramping up its efforts for the next go-round.  So the message to Putnam is clear:  If we would like a stronger showing in the CFA race, we need to work more closely together, formulate a game plan, get started early, and develop a strong case for what our needs are and why they are worthy of state funding support. “This is the beginning” says Meghan Taylor, “I can assure the people of Putnam that the EDC will do everything in its power and within its abilities to ensure that we obtain the financing necessary to move our County Forward”   Senator Ball says “ I would like to see Putnam get an even larger share next time, yet we need the towns and local stakeholders to get more involved to do so”, And I could not agree more. In 2014 when the CFA training class is held I expect to see every municipality represented or shame on us for not holding them accountable. The  Chamber  meeting in Downtown Mahopac with Congressman Maloney, Senator Ball and Assemblyman Katz, County Executive Maryellen Odell and even Sheriff Smith in attendance leaves us confident that all levels of government are on the ball seeking funding for Putnam County.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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Putnam County Housing Market Improves Over Past 12 Months

Putnam County Housing Market Improves Over Past 12 Months        

 

Data from the Hudson Gateway MLS indicates the Putnam County housing market is holding its own compared to our neighbors.  Compared to 2012, Putnam saw a 22% percentage increase in closed transactions, a 5.0% median sales price increase, and a slight inventory decrease while neighboring Westchester boasted an 11% decrease in inventory.  The numbers point to a steady recovery.  Interestingly, homes in the $100-300K price range have been strong sellers while the homes over $600K have been much weaker, likely a result of an oversupply of these high-value homes built just prior to the economic downturn.

 

Putnam County does possess some things in its favor when it comes to

property values:

 

● We have a low unemployment rate of 5.8%.

● We are an affluent community with an median household income of $92,711.

● Since 2009, Putnam County’s crime rate has decreased 34.2% making it the most

improved county in New York State in this metric.

● Our home ownership rate is 83.4% which is much higher than surrounding

counties.

● We are still a small, closely knit community with our population just under 100,000.

 

There is room for even more optimism. Our current County administration works hand in hand with our EDC/IDA, Chambers of Commerce, and Tourism and is focused on quality of life issues such as infrastructure improvements, revitalization, smart development, and transportation improvements. The county has even partnered with local Realtors to sell county owned properties. Putnam County is a place that has astutely avoided overdevelopment and over commercialization and instead is famous for its bodies of water, parks and mountains. As we well know the county still lies within a short, easy commute to Manhattan.

 

Putnam County is building an even stronger community and an attractive place to live, work and play, which will continue to be reflected in stronger real estate values.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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Putnam County Small Businesses Have Earned Our Support 365 Days Each Year

Putnam County Small Businesses Have Earned Our Support 365 Days Each Year

 

Small Business Saturday is in the news lately, nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Is it just another sales gimmick designed to separate people from their money?  Or is there a more noble purpose behind the attention focused each year on the small business community?

Conceived by American Express in 2010 and promoted via social media, Small Business Saturday has been recognized by the US Senate and credited with prompting $5.5B in consumer spending in 2012 as surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business.   As a leader of a major business organization, I think the event is a good idea. I do, however, admit to some chagrin at the need for a special day to encourage shoppers to shop in Putnam County.   Small businesses provide up to 70% of all jobs created in the USA, are often the first employers of our young people and last employers of our seniors.  When I dine out I usually know the owner server, bartender and busgirl. The same goes for the local Jeweler, Gift shop Fish market, Fence Company and many other locally owned businesses we can shop. They are owned and operated by neighbors and friends so why does it take a special day to focus customer attention on Putnam County’s small businesses?

Perhaps we need to remember why they went into business in the first place.   Small business owners created their businesses around expressed needs of people in their area, meeting them in ways no one else could through personal relationships with customers. In addition to the personal service, just look at any local Baseball, Soccer or football team and you will see the small businesses certainly support our communities more than one day a year. Parades, Festivals, Tree lightings, Races and more are all sponsored by the local business community. The local business community also alleviates a huge portion of the property tax base in our County allowing commercial building owners to keep investing in Putnam County.  In the words of Putnam County Executive Maryellen Odell, “Everyone comes out ahead when customers shop locally.”  Unsurpassed quality and timely service should ensure that small businesses always have a prominent economic role in our communities.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, thePutnamCountyChambers of Commerce