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Citizens Should Exercise Their Right To Vote

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Elections are the main way that the citizens of our community get a chance to clearly impose their wishes on government, yet so often the percentage of people who show up at the polls is incredibly anemic.   Less than 10 percent of voters in Putnam County showed up at the September 13 primary.   That is a shame, because in most races the primary winner has the inside track on a November victory, either running unopposed or against a lesser known opponent.

 

It’s imperative not to get left out of the process, and this is one area where the influence of the Chamber of Commerce is rather limited.  We can share information and hold debates, but it’s up to the public to get out and register their votes.  We may all lead busy lives, but we can’t complain that politicians aren’t doing the will of the people if we don’t get out and tell them what our wishes are.

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Perhaps the malaise can be attributed to factors such as negative campaigning and other drama that takes please each election season.   Voters surely get turned off to all the inflammatory rhetoric.  Perhaps the Board of Elections can run public service announcements to remind voters of the importance of speaking their mind at the ballot box.  It seems odd that we should need such reminders, but anything that helps raise the percentage of ballots cast is a good thing.

 

The issues that we as Putnam residents and business owners face are very significant.  Decisions are being made at local, statewide and federal levels that will make a difference in the cost of running our business.  Government leaders decide the taxes we pay on our homes, on purchases, the regulations we must adhere to, and the fees for obtaining permits, etc.   It is vital that our voices be heard during this election season.

 

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

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Putnam County GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES’ DEBATE

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THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF PUTNAM COUNTY

THE PUTNAM COUNTY CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE

WILL CO-HOST

 

A GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES’ DEBATE

 

Date:       September 27, 2012

 

Time:      7:00 PM – 9:30 PM

 

Place:     Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association Building,

                #15 Mt. Ebo Road, Brewster, NY

 

CANDIDATE PARTICIPANTS:

NYS Senate – 40th District (Carmel, Patterson, Southeast)

NYS Senate – 41st District (Kent, Philipstown, Putnam Valley)

NYS Assembly – 94th District (Carmel Paterson, Southeast, Putnam Valley)

 

Putnam County Legislature:

                District 1(Philipstown)

                District 4 (Paterson)

                District 6 (Southeast)

                District 7 (Mahopac, Croton Falls, Brewster and Parts of                                                        Southeast)

 

 

YOUR VOTE COUNTS! PLEASE ATTEND FOR AN INFORMED CHOICE ON ELECTION DAY.

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Reflections On The Post-9/11 Business World

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Pivotal moments of time stand out in the memory of each American generation – Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, and of course, September 11, 2001.  The terror attacks impacted our communities in many different ways, with many different facets standing out in our minds.  From the perspective of a Chamber Chairwoman I sit here working from home on 9/11/2012 remembering how American business came to a grinding halt for more than a week, and the tremendous comeback we have made. In the wake of 9/11, many started over or rebuilt their business or career, leaving their job to build a new business that makes a significant contribution in this world. Entrepreneurship is at an all time high, and post-9/11 re-evaluation of priorities such as family and quality of life is a likely explanation.

 

September 11, 2001 made permanent changes to the small business landscape which affect us even today.  Some effects were felt right away, for example disruption in financial markets and interruption in public transportation.   Those immediate effects soon ebbed, but others remain.  For example, the price of fuel was destined to go up, and thanks to Mideast tensions it has nearly tripled.  That affects delivery and transportation costs for every business.  Security at airports was forever changed, and the time it takes to travel via air lengthened.  Roads were permanently closed, such as those near certain reservoirs.  This resulted in new bike trails but also longer commutes for some.  Our government became larger, more bureaucratic, and more wary, leading to substantially higher spending and a greater tax burden on American business.  Federal agents now monitor our waterways, roads, rails, bridges and airports looking for potential threats, and businesses are urged, “if you see something, say something.” All of which lead to a more tense atmosphere in daily business operations. I know as a Realtor I am looking forward to the upswing about to happen in the near distant future. I am certain many other industries feel the same way.

 

The post-9/11 world is indeed changed, but our can-do spirit rose above it all, and America still is the envy of the rest of the world.

 

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

Business Strategist/ Associate Broker Keller Williams NY Realty

 

Putnam & Westchester County’s Real Estate Resource Blog Search for Putnam & Westchester County’s Real Estate Listings

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Grooming a Generation of New Community Leaders

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I look around and see how much has changed in the past ten years and can’t help but notice that does not hold true for our leadership in Putnam County.  Year after year it seems the same people are running for office on both a Town, County and State level. I believe one way to get new people involved is to groom young business leaders into community leaders.

 

The 2010 census reported that  13 percent of the population in Putnam County is over the age of 65 and 23 percent of the population is under 18, while the New York State average was 13.7 percent of a population over 65 and 22 percent of the population under the age of 18.  Clearly there is a shift towards the younger generation in the workplace.  Its having an impact on chambers of commerce too – G. Daniel Hearn, President/CEO of the Catawba County, NC Chamber and Chairman of the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management, recently told a nationwide audience that in his 40 years of service he’s never seen a demographic so radically different than its predecessors.  Our youngest business owners expect clearly defined benefits and demonstrated value from the people they buy from, and that includes the chamber of commerce which represents their needs.  Therefore we as leaders need to adapt our strategies to reflect the needs and priorities of our up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

 

There are so many young professionals who are doing their part to make Putnam County a great place to work, live and raise a family that they deserve to be recognized.  The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is initiating the “40 Under 40 Trailblazer Award” to celebrate our young people.  Applications along with nomination rules and information are available on the Chamber website, www.putnamchamberny.org, and must be received by November 16, 2012.  The awards themselves will be presented at Villa Barone on January 25, so get involved, and celebrate the youth movement in Putnam County business!

 

-Jennifer Maher,

Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

Business Strategist Keller Williams NY Realty

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Brewster Film Festival!!

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Perhaps We Should Consider the Vacancy Rates, Needs and Wants of the Public When Assessing Development Possibilities?

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Development is a major component of regional growth, enabling a community to modernize by building better infrastructure to attract new business and investors, thus increasing the tax base.   However, its also important to know how the vacancy rate of commercial properties fits into the equation.  New property is going to be less desirable if it’s surrounded by a whole host of vacant buildings.  Long range planning of future development is contingent upon balancing these concerns and making sure that existing properties get filled while a proper amount of new development springs up to enhance and support the existing inventory.

Unfortunately, Putnam County doesn’t track its vacancy rate.  Usually this sort of data is used to keep track of significantly larger markets.  New York City, for example, lists its 2nd Quarter 2012 office vacancy rate at 7.1%, while retail comes in at 2.2%.  In Albany the numbers were 15.2% and 8.9%, respectively, and for Westchester, 18.0% and 8.2% (source:  www.reisreports.com).   In assessing the future of our county, and in determining what industries to attract to Putnam, it would seem valuable to have access to this same data.   That way we can address potential concerns and factor the empty properties into plans for development and growth.

The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is conducting a survey to help determine needs and wants for building sustainable industry clusters in our communities – available at putnamchamberny.org/public-survey.html or putnamchamberny.org/business-owner-survey.html .  Ideally, new businesses will fill vacant buildings first and then move into newly-developed space; of course in reality there will be a combination of both.   The end result will be an improvement in the economic conditions of our county, one way or another.  As we utilize tools such as the survey and other available data, we are gathering vital data to help facilitate coordinated planning for our future.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

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Primary Votes Are Super Important

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In Putnam County, people tend to be pretty committed to strong political viewpoints.   As such it has been a rarity these days to see a truly contested general election, and primary results seem to be the major factor in deciding who is elected to our local governments.  Certainly redistricting and new candidates may alter the landscape somewhat this year, but still it is of vital importance for the electorate to be informed and show up at the polls on Primary Day, September 13, 2012, from 6AM-9PM.   Business owners need to have a say in who their representatives are, and while it is not the purpose of this column to advise for or against a particular candidate, it’s definitely important for us all to be informed and cast our ballots for the individuals we prefer.

 

So many major issues are at stake this year – the idea of bringing industry clusters to Putnam, taxes and regulation on current businesses, development and quality of life for residents, etc.  Clearly its important to have a say in how these concerns are addressed, and participation in the voting process ensures that you will be heard come November.

 

Chambers of commerce do not take partisan stances but the strong ones do become active in advocating for local businesses.  The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce is conducting a survey to help determine needs and wants for building sustainable industry clusters in our communities – available at putnamchamberny.org/public-survey.html or putnamchamberny.org/business-owner-survey.html .  Ideally, new businesses will fill vacant buildings first and then move into newly-developed space; of course in reality there will be a combination of both.   The end result will be an improvement in the economic conditions of our county, one way or another.  As we utilize tools such as the survey and other available data, we are gathering vital data to help facilitate coordinated planning for our future.

 

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

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Attention Residents and Business owners of Putnam County!! We want to hear your opinion!!

Please take our web surveys to help us better evaluate how we can make the business environment more business friendly in Putnam County. 

Any questions? email me direct Jenn@Jennifermaher.com

Yours in committment to progress & quality of life,

Jennifer Maher
Chairwoman of the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

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Economic Development Efforts are Paying Off!

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Recently, a commentator in another newspaper boasted that businesses in downtown Mahopac are booming.  It’s true that Mahopac is becoming a destination in its own right, where people can walk, shop, dine and now can even enjoy some culture with the new Gallery “Look Art”.  Clearly all the tools are there for quite an economic surge in Mahopac.  It has everything one could possibly want in a commerce district centered on a breathtaking lake. Sure some improvements are still needed, such as more convenient parking and a better exit off the bike path, but all in all it is a very viable commerce district.

 

I believe each of our towns has something unique that could attract visitors from other towns, counties and even across state lines.  Downtown Carmel has a picturesque view along Lake Gleneida, access to main roadways and room to grow.  Kent has its natural resources such as Fahnestock, Veterans Park and lots of other beautiful places to hike swim and fish. Brewster has its beautiful architecture and small village charm. Cold Spring has the majestic Hudson River and towering mountains serving as a backdrop for shopping, festivals, and fun. Putnam Valley has Lake Oscawana, agriculture, parks, sunken mines and a Norman Rockwell quality to it. Patterson has  recreation to go along with its pretty town – the Great Swamp plus the county’s only skiing facility and rolling hills with spectacular views!

 

The Putnam County Chambers of Commerce looks forward to working with each town to attract businesses that provides culture and improves quality of life. After all we are a reflection of our community, so let us continue to improve and grow. In every town, village and hamlet there is work to be done and that is where we will find the passion to get it done – among those who live work and play in our downtowns.

 

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

www.jennifermaher.com

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Assessing Possibilities Of Attracting Business To Putnam

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Various ideas have been presented of late as to what the future industries of our County might look like.  Suggestions have included medical business support, media services, tourism/arts/culture, recreation, food processing/distribution, and information technology.  Our proximity to New York City and its airports, educated workforce, protection from natural disasters, low crime rate and ample housing are all strong assets which will be attractive to a business looking to relocate here.  Additionally, since culture and quality of life are also considered paramount to a successful industry cluster, our historical significance, recreational facilities, arts and pleasant environment would be terrific attributes.  Clearly Putnam County has much to offer businesses looking to make a fresh start in our communities.

On the other hand, some shortcomings threaten to derail these attempts, starting with limited public transportation, watershed restrictions, limited and aged infrastructure, high cost of living and onerous taxes.  Lack of broadband service, which hampers communications in the Information Age, also is a serious limitation.  There’s limited access to start up capital, inconsistent local regulations, and the ever-present “NIMBYs” who would oppose any major initiatives simply because it means change and a new way of life in our neighborhoods.

Despite these concerns, there’s enough impetus to get something started.  With vision and planning, strategic incentives, sharing of sales tax between towns, and perhaps a push for “greener” business ideas, an optimistic future is indeed possible.  We need to continue to gather data and assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which can then be analyzed and used to enhance our strategies as we move forward.   This is an exciting time, where dedicated citizens can have a hand in shaping the future economic vitality of Putnam County.   We’ve come a long way in a short time in identifying the possibilities.  Now it is time to press forward with alacrity to ensure prosperity for future generations.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, Putnam County Chambers of Commerce

http://www.jennifermaher.com