Putnam County Considers Climate Smart

Montgomery pushes for certification

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

In a presentation on Feb. 21, Nancy Montgomery, who represents Philipstown on the Putnam County Legislature, urged her colleagues to have the county join the state’s Climate Smart Communities initiative.

Participating municipalities agree to take steps to reduce carbon emissions, decrease pollution and fight global warming. In return, they can receive consideration for state aid. Philipstown began working toward Climate Smart certification in 2017; Beacon and Nelsonville are likewise involved.

The sole Democrat on the nine-person Legislature, Montgomery was elected in November, after supporting Climate Smart efforts as a town councilor in Philipstown. She said that as she familiarized herself with county government, she realized that “we’re well on our way to accomplishing” basic Climate Smart goals already. As examples, she cited installation of energy-efficient lighting, environmentally friendlier road management and county car fleet practices, and improvements at the jail.

Speaking during a meeting of the Economic Development Committee, Montgomery pointed out that participating municipalities have received grants for stormwater management and minimizing flood threats. Putnam, too, might pursue Climate Smart certification and get help for “projects that the county needs to do anyway,” she said. “It would just be a win-win.”

Other legislators expressed openness to the idea but called for further review. But Legislator Ginny Nacerino, who said she had unsuccessfully proposed Putnam join the initiative four years ago, offered her endorsement. “It would behoove us to move forward with this,” she said.

2 Responses to "Putnam County Considers Climate Smart"

  1. Patty Villanova   March 5, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Sorry to say this, because I had high hopes for her before the election, but Nancy Montgomery is already turning out to be a huge disappointment and this Climate Smart nonsense is just the beginning.

    Whether or not you believe in manmade global warming or manmade climate change (which I don’t), this is not exactly a local issue. People did not elect Montgomery, Gouldman or our other legislators to deal with national issues. Leave that to Sean Patrick Maloney, et al.

    I am a constituent of Montgomery’s in two towns — I reside in Putnam Valley and I have a small business in Cold Spring. Before the election I spoke with her to outline what I believe our issues are. They include the following:

    * Putnam Valley: The Peekskill Hollow Road project is due to begin this fall. The work that’s going to be done on the road and bridges will destroy our only business district at Oregon Corners. Most of the work is unnecessary and the money should be used for actual improvements like sidewalks, street lights and lane changes at the Corners. This has been in the works for well over 10 years and the controversy has subsided because we won the first round of the battle. When I asked Ms. Montgomery about this at the town board meeting, she claimed that she was just getting up to speed! At this rate the work will be done before she figures out what’s going on.

    * Cold Spring: As I have written about ad nauseum here and elsewhere: when are our Main Street business owners going to get the financial support we deserve and are entitled to? Justifiably, the County does not share sales tax with the towns. However, they are supposed to provide services in lieu of money. That includes direct support from the Tourism and Economic Development agencies that are funded with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Our Main Street businesses are struggling and suffering due to the Retail Apocalypse that is affecting stores and malls all over the country. Brick-and-mortar shops like ours are becoming dinosaurs as visitors no longer seem interested in buying our wares when they can get everything online or on Amazon. We need all the help we can get including billboards, brochures in Grand Central, etc. Again, when asked, Ms. Montgomery had no idea of how to proceed to help us.

    Cold Spring is the only real tourist attraction in Putnam County. For some arcane reason known only to himself, the director of the Tourism Agency has cut off the direct funding we used to get from the county. This is outrageous and it behooves our Legislator to get this money restored as the summer tourist season will be here in a couple of months.

    The Putnam County Legislature serves no purpose other than to provide no-show jobs for those fortunate enough to get elected. There is no oversight and most people have no idea what their representatives do for the money. Rather than continuing to support this clown show, we need to go back to the original form of county government — a Board of Supervisors. It would solve a host of problems and save the taxpayers a lot of money.

  2. Lynn Miller   March 7, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Bravo to Nancy Montgomery for pushing Climate Smart initiatives forward on the county level. Whether you “believe” in global warming/climate change or not these initiatives make economic sense and save tax dollars.

    Changing to energy efficient lighting in governmental buildings saves money on our electrical bills. Using environmentally friendly materials to maintain our roads reduces chemical runoff into our water sources which in turn reduces the costs of water treatment and preserves biodiversity in our natural areas. Taking steps to reduce air pollution from county vehicles reduces its effects on sufferers of asthma and other chronic pulmonary conditions.

    If communities receive state grants for taking these small, but effective measures, then our local property tax burden is eased and resources are available to address other county, town and village needs. It’s a win-win no matter what your “beliefs” are.

    I agree that the Putnam County Legislature and Tourism Agency could and should do a much better job of addressing the needs of Philipstown, Cold Spring and Nelsonville in dealing with the impacts of tourism on our community and in supporting this industry that generates so much in sales tax revenue for the county. I’m confident that Nancy Montgomery is the advocate we’ve needed in our corner for a very long time.

    She’s just getting started.