Putnam IDA Striving Toward Compliance

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Chair says agency recovering from resignations

The chair of the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency says it has a full board for the first time since members resigned en masse in 2016, and is cleaning up its website, which has been out of compliance with state transparency laws. 

The state Authorities Budget Office reviewed the website in February and informed IDA more information needed to be posted, including meeting notices, agendas and minutes; a full list of IDA projects, along with the amount of tax benefits that developers or businesses received and jobs created; and appointment dates and employment information for its board members. 

Although the most recent meeting information posted as of Thursday (July 28) was from April, and only one project is listed online, Chair Bill Nulk said the IDA has hired a website consultant and expects that “we’ll be fully up to speed in the next month or two.” 

In May, the IDA added three new board members to fill out its seven-person board, including Ben Cheah of Philipstown and Abigail O’Brien of Putnam Valley. Nulk said the agency, which has no staff, is also current on the reports it is required to submit to the Authorities Budget Office, which oversees the operations and finances of IDAs and other municipal authorities. 

While the agency is “in pretty good shape now” and has several potential projects, it needs help with staff, said Nulk, who lives in Kent and has been volunteering as chair and de facto executive director. “The two positions aren’t supposed to be the same,” he said. 

In January 2016, IDA board members — including Nulk — and its executive director resigned at the same time. Nulk said the IDA, which is supposed to be self-funding through fees from projects it approves, was running out of money and the county Legislature refused a request for financial assistance. 

Nulk returned four months later as board chair, along with three new members. When he rejoined the board, the agency had $38 in its bank account and its files were in disarray, he said. 

The Legislature eventually approved $50,000 to bail out the agency and has continued providing subsidies, Nulk said. “It was a very difficult period,” he said. 

Past projects approved by the IDA include The Residences at Butterfield condominium development in Cold Spring. Among the current projects are a warehouse expansion for Ace Endico, a food-service provider in Southeast; a Comfort Inn that opened in 2020 in Brewster; and the Gleneida Distillery.

“We have a couple of projects that, if they come to fruition this year, should get us some funding,” Nulk said. 

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