Claiming that both New York State and Putnam had a “great, great week,” president of the Putnam County Economic Development Committee (EDC) Kevin Bailey joined County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other lawmakers in announcing that the county has received a series of grants and tax credits to foster business growth.
“As you all know, the MTA tax was reduced and income taxes were reduced, and to continue the ‘love fest’ that’s going on in Albany led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Putnam County was awarded eight grants totaling approximately $8.2 million for future business development,” Bailey said. “One of the problems of getting economic development started is the very simple fact that it’s difficult to obtain the money necessary to make that big investment to get things moving—New York State has now played its part in doing this.”
An initiative launched by the governor, the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council established a grant program where the state’s 11 economic regions essentially competed against one another to obtain some of the $200 million in capital funds and tax credits that were awarded to the best plans.
“I have to tell you, it’s an exciting day, I could not wait to get of the office—I mean, I had to leave the meeting to call MaryEllen Odell to tell her the great news,” Bailey said. “We’ve had several projects that we’ve been working on for the past several months, some as long as two years. The funding that New York State has now given us to assist these projects along will probably result in most, if not all of the five projects.”
Of the eight grants that were awarded to Putnam County, a total of five came from the state’s Economic Development Office. The latter three were funded directly from the state—the open space conservatory in Kent received $400,000, while the Cold Spring Waterfront Revitalization Plan and the West Point Foundry were awarded $27,000 and $125,000, respectively.
Bailey addressed several projects that were in the works in Putnam County, citing the funds obtained by the Economic Development Office would be used to help them become a reality. The focal point of business growth in the county, Paladin Capital Group, a private company that provides homeland security training to first responders, was awarded $1 million. Bailey said Paladin is the county’s landmark project because it will mostly likely occupy the former Guideposts building in Carmel, thus adding to Putnam’s property tax revenue.
“There are approximately 600,000 first responders in the tri-state area, most of them go out of this region for training—this is the most exciting news because it’s very closest to fruition,” Bailey said. “If this does happen, which I’m 90 percent certain it will, this will really and truly be the best thing in my opinion to happen to Putnam County.”
Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt pledged to make Paladin a reality for residents not just in Carmel, but in Putnam County, as well.
“This is really exciting news, I’m excited by it—economic development is extremely important to the vitality of a community,” Schmitt said. “I know that working together, we’re going to see this through and make sure these businesses locate here to our community to provide jobs.”
Other grants and credits include Watson Pharmaceuticals ($972,000), Hudson Valley Produce Farms ($150,000), a manufacturing company that would be based in Brewster ($1 million) and SanMar ($5 million). Though the companies won’t find out whether they’ve received grants or tax credits until next week, Bailey said the probability of these projects happening in Putnam has increased by 100 percent.
“We are competing very vigorously with Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania—they are very aggressive when it comes to seeking out economic development,” Bailey said. “We do a cost-benefit analysis, we just don’t hand out the money. We have to sit out and say ‘this is what’s going to cost us to give out this money, what kind of benefit are we getting back’ and that always has to be in favor of Putnam County.”
Odell praised the work of state Sen. Greg Ball and Assemblyman Steve Katz, who’ve been consistently pushing for economic development in New York State. All in attendance were in consensus that Gov. Cuomo and the rest of Albany played a proactive role in jumpstarting business growth within the state.
“New York State, historically, takes twice the national average to pull itself out of a recession, I believe that’s not going to be the case this time,” Ball said. “Putnam County should be extremely proud for being such a small county but receiving so much in these dollars.”