Putnam Frees $100,000 for Tourism

Also supports drug treatment for inmates

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

The Putnam County Legislature on April 4 voted 8 to 1 to free $100,000 in sequestered money to fund the Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau for the remainder of the year.

The money had been held back by legislators following the resignation last year of Libby Pataki as executive director and an investigation by the state attorney general of the bureau’s finances and compliance with state law that regulates nonprofits. The legislature gave the bureau $41,996 of the $141,996 it had promised, to cover the first quarter of 2017. It will receive the remaining money at a rate of $11,833 monthly.

Dini LoBue (R-Mahopac Falls), who cast the sole “no” vote, urged her colleagues to keep the money sequestered. She said she wondered whether the bureau was in compliance with nonprofit regulations. “I’d like to see that verified,” she said. She proposed the Legislature investigate and, if all is well, release the funds in May.

Toni Addonizio (R-Kent) said that the Visitors’ Bureau must be in compliance to receive “I Love NY” promotion money from the state.

Barbara Scuccimarra (R-Philipstown) argued to release the $100,000. “In order to do the work they need the funds,” she said.

Carl Albano (R-Carmel) said the Legislature needed to show support for the bureau. “This is the season for tourism,” he said, when Putnam should “get brochures down to Grand Central, do all the things that we would normally do to encourage tourism.” Joseph Castellano (R-Southeast) added that for “every $1 we spend on tourism, we get $7 back.”

Oil barges

Legislators voted unanimously to allow Putnam County to join the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of communities opposed to a proposal to create anchorage spots for oil barges, including between Beacon and Newburgh.

They also passed a resolution backing legislation introduced in Albany by state Sen. Sue Serino, who represents Philipstown and Beacon, to strengthen state control over the river and create “tanker avoidance zones.”

Drug abuse treatment in jails

The legislature unanimously approved a resolution drafted by the New York State Association of Counties to fund drug-addiction treatment in county jails.

Philipstown Town Board Councilor Nancy Montgomery thanked the legislators for supporting treatment but also advocated the creation of facilities for younger addicts, an approach she said had been adopted by Dutchess County. “Treatment instead of incarceration is certainly more effective,” she said, and trying to cure addiction in jail settings “is a frightening thought.”

Capital projects and roads

The Legislature unanimously approved spending $250,000 for improvements at the Putnam County Golf Club; $50,000 for an elevated walkway in the Sheriff’s Department; and $50,000 for heating and air conditioning upgrades in the Highway and Facilities Department.

Separately, the Legislature voted unanimously to issue $1 million in bonds to pay for repairs to county roads, including Snake Hill Road in Philipstown.

One thought on “Putnam Frees $100,000 for Tourism

  1. I wonder if any of that money will go to promote Cold Spring, Putnam’s No. 1 and only real tourist attraction. I suppose that if we are paying for two salaries, one for a director, the other an assistant director, there won’t be much if anything left.

    Meanwhile, thanks to chairman of the board Barney Molloy and former director Frank Smith, Cold Spring will no longer receive any funding for the Grand Central Terminal maps, shopping and dining brochure and other promotions. We are talking about a few thousand dollars, very little in the scheme of things. Yet since last year we haven’t received a dime for these initiatives which are paid for by OUR tax dollars.

    This is a total disgrace. Ms. Scuccimarra supposedly represents our district in the Legislature yet has done nothing to get justice for the taxpayers. I hope the voters will remember this the next time she runs for office.