Putnam Committee OKs Nelsonville Sheriff Rent Increase

Also backs agreement with HHLT for Granite Mountain

The Putnam County Legislature’s Physical Services Committee on Tuesday (March 23) unanimously endorsed a new lease with Nelsonville for use of the old village firehouse as a Sheriff’s Department substation. It also backed an agreement with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust for better public access to Granite Mountain in Putnam Valley.

The committee votes sent both items for consideration by the full Legislature. 

Nelsonville Mayor Mike Bowman had outlined the lease arrangement at Village Board meetings earlier this month: The monthly rent will rise to $1,500 over five years but Nelsonville will invest in capital improvements. The Sheriff’s Department started using the space more frequently about 10 years ago, initially paying no rent but making renovations. After payments began, the rate was $1,000 a month. 

“There hasn’t been a rent increase there in many years,” Andrew Negro, the first deputy county attorney, told legislators. He noted that, going forward, Nelsonville agreed to provide snow removal, which the county had handled.

Legislator Neal Sullivan of Carmel-Mahopac remarked that “Nelsonville should be very happy that the county has continued to rent this facility and has agreed to actually increase the rent. So we’re giving them that” in exchange for property maintenance.

The committee chair, Legislator Carl Albano of Carmel, said that “to some extent, I think maybe we shouldn’t be paying rent.” The county “is providing a service” to western Putnam by “sending the sheriff over there to have a presence. I think that’s good on the county’s part.”

Legislator Nancy Montgomery, who represents Philipstown and part of Putnam Valley, responded that “we all know what rents are in Cold Spring” and vicinity. She pointed out that Philipstown and Putnam Valley share the equivalent of 1.5 patrol cars around the clock. “It’s great to have the sheriff’s cars there in front of that building [on Main Street], but it’s also a great partnership and a bargain for this county,” she said. 

The committee also approved a 10-year agreement to connect 91 acres of county-owned land to the 415-acre Granite Mountain Preserve owned by HHLT. Albano suggested that in the near future Putnam could donate the parcel. 

In other business, Montgomery questioned a $20,000 fund transfer to buy furniture for the Putnam County Golf Course, which the county owns. She said the purchase comes at a time when residents and small businesses continue to suffer economically in the pandemic, and after she had been informed that Putnam could afford neither a mobile COVID-19 vaccination van or help municipalities address tourism pressures.

Albano replied that the golf course has generated revenue during the pandemic and the expenditure is appropriate.

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