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


● 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


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



The Putnam County Transportation Advisory Council – Increasing Mobility For All

The Putnam County Transportation Task Force recently released its findings which, if adopted, promise to help improve our county’s mobility index and get more people on mass transit, thus connecting all of our towns via a more durable thread.  Plans call for the modification of various bus and trolley lines, adopting competitive fares, adding services to connect to Metro-North, adding services specific to seniors, veterans, students, commuters and tourists alike.  A County agency would regulate the operations of taxis, limousines, shuttles and bus services to protect the consumer from improperly licensed operators, and an advertising agency would be retained to promote the new operation.  It’s an ambitious plan, but one rooted in economic reality – the only demographic currently growing in Putnam County is its senior citizen population.  We love our seniors, but in order to have balanced economic vitality we also need to attract young people to  our county as well as the existing population to stick around after college and build their careers here, and tourists to stop and visit as they explore our wonderful state.  The wonderful work being done by Meghan Taylor of  Putnam’s Economic Development Corporation and by Libby Pataki over at the Visitors’ Bureau deserves all the assistance possible to succeed, and bolstering our transportation system will provide a huge benefit.


It will take some time to implement the new arrangements and to get people to travel on them, so the Task Force also recommended operating closely with the local business community including the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce.  By incentivizing employers and employees alike to use the new system, riders will take advantage of clean, affordable and user-friendly transportation, and higher real estate values, better business development and increased job opportunities should follow.  Today’s ever-changing world requires adaptability on the part of our business community, residents and the public sector.  This new transportation initiative could well be the ticket to Putnam’s future prosperity.


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


Leveraging Economic Rewards On Our Bike Paths

The many miles of converted “rail trails” which traverse our county provide a great way to enjoy nature, get our exercise and spend quality time with family and friends.   However, we would do well to also remember that those trails were once commerce corridors that brought passengers into our towns to conduct business.   Without that method of transportation, it can be argued that we have been missing out on a lot of economic opportunity.  Besides, the trails need to be maintained and that costs money.   So how can we enjoy the amenities of our rail trails in a sustainable manner so that they remain well-groomed and available to our citizens for generations to come?


A company called Bikepath Country has a plan.  Called “Socially Responsible Sponsorships” (SRS), Bikepath Country finds marketing opportunities to help pay for signage along the trails, alert cyclists, hikers and other users to nearby attractions, food and supplies, and raise revenue for neighboring municipalities.  Through Bikepath Country’s engagement in the community, local business becomes a partner in putting together the message that will be shared and the means in which to share it.   Even the signs themselves are socially responsible, made of recycled, and pressed cardboard and very durable. I think perhaps people are envisioning the adopt a highway signs and the answer is NO.  The Adopt a Highway signs are a blight on the visual landscape whereas the Bikepath Country signs are beautiful and blend into the natural surroundings.


Putnam County Executive Maryellen Odell is interested in seeing how these ideas can work on our trails, and a presentation has been planned in conjunction with the Putnam County, Brewster, and Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chambers of Commerce and the Putnam Visitors Bureau.  Come to the Putnam County Golf Course on Monday June 17, 2013 from 6-9PM to explore exclusive and unique sponsorship opportunities and enjoy complimentary food and beverages

Aimee Cunningham Owner of the Terrace Club restaurant in Mahopac says “The signs are to support the local business community and some of the money goes to the up-keep of the bike trails and restoration for our people in the community who use the bike trails. It’s a “win-win” for local businesses who want to advertise, encourage people to shop “local” and for users of the bike trails who will appreciate the maintenance of the trails, b/c there are not being maintained now. I can’t wait to put up a Terrace Club sign to advertise for my business and know that I was responsible for a trail I use recreationally.” I personally could not agree more.

Ivan Bellotto and Richie O’Keefe are just two of the Company’s founders who reign here from Putnam County, both extremely excited for the launch and are confident it will be a big hit!


To RSVP call 914-920-3121. Get a first shot at these signs and locations and special discounts This promises to be a great event, helping shape yet another benefit for our local community .I even encourage the naysayers to attend and really get to know the product.


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


Reflections On The Presidential Inauguration


It seems, based on observation of friends and colleagues that  the 57th Presidential Inauguration 

was either a time of great hope and optimism or one of apprehension and despair. One thing 

is for certain – it was a historic event.  Never before had an African-American strode to the 

podium for the second time to take the oath of office for our nation’s most prominent position 

of leadership.  It seems appropriate to reflect on the day’s significance, summed up best by the 

immortal words of Ronald Reagan in his 1981 inauguration speech:  “The orderly transfer of 

authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, 

and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this 

every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”

Of course Mr. Reagan continued on to describe the issues, concerns, fears, needs, hopes, and 

dreams of the America he was about to lead, and the same can be said today for President 

Obama.   He is probably quite aware that there are dissenters to his policies with regard to 

economics, health care, entitlements, and gun control, to name a few.  On the other hand he also possesses the power, along with colleagues in Congress, to enact the programs he feels will best benefit the country and make a difference for generations to come.  How he handles this delicate 

balance of leadership these next four years will define the America that our teenage children will 

inherit as they enter the workforce.  We would do well to pray that he successfully navigates 

these treacherous waters, because so much is riding on the outcome. We would also do well to 

set an example of leadership and respect for the elected officials from the town level all the way 

up to President Obama . “ Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for 

your country”

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


A Brewster Business Icon Moves On

A Brewster Icon Moves On

In the real estate business, I routinely sell properties large and small. But one recent transaction
really made me stop and reflect on past, present, and future. For my entire life, Joseph Scortino
has run a Catering hall on Route 6 near the I-84 overpasses in Brewster. But after 45 years in
business, Joe decided it was time to close the business, sell his property, and retire.
Joe Scortino is an icon, as was the restaurant/Banquet Hall that bore his family name. A fixture
in the local Republican Party, he hosted committee dinners and in years past Scortino’s was
the place where local elections were held. They would literally write the vote tallies on boards
of sheetrock, which now adorn the walls. Hundreds of weddings, christenings, sweet sixteen’s
etc…. were held there. Joe is definitely a throwback to a different world. In his words when
asked his opinion of success, “To be successful you must first realize that you will not please
everyone. You have to work 90 hours weeks, be committed to service and have a loving and
supportive family”. Joe certainly exemplified those words. I admire his work ethic very much
and I believe he is an outstanding example for the Putnam County Business community, He
made an impact on the community we call home, and we are better off for his having been our

Scortino’s founded around 1965 has survived many economic climates both good and bad, 8 or
so different presidents. Although now it is no more, we have the legacy of Joe to thank for the
bright future we are building for our up-and-coming crop of business leaders. As we’ve talked
about much in recent weeks, the time is here for the big “40 under 40” awards night on January
25 at Villa Barone, which ironically is another family owned catering hall run by a younger
generation and two nominees for the event. It may be a changing of the guard of sorts, but
hopefully the new generation of Putnam leaders is ready to step up in our community and by
having such great examples of leadership they are sure to be successful. More information on
the event is available at .

-Jennifer Maher

Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty

Vice President Westchester/Putnam Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors