The Putnam Examiner

Odell: Bringing in Hotel Top Priority

We are part of The Trust Project
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell discussed county issues on Examiner News Talk on PCTV last month.
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell discussed county issues on Examiner News Talk on PCTV last month.

Bringing a hotel to Putnam County is the top goal in the remainder of her first term, County Executive MaryEllen Odell said in an interview last month.
“We’re working on that diligently,” Odell said in a July 24 interview on Examiner News Talk, which airs on Pleasantville’s PCTV. “You know, the economy taking that upside down in [2008], really, that hurt. We were that close. We were really poised to have our first hotel [and] conference center in the Hamlet of Carmel.”
Odell said there remains hope the county will be able to attract a hotel, which she believes will give a huge boost to Putnam’s tourism industry.
“We speak to individuals, capital investors, visionaries all the time,” Odell said. “[Economic Development Corporation President Meghan Taylor] is talking to anyone and everybody who says, ‘Look, I have a piece of property. I think you can put an 80 to 100 room hotel in here. Can you assist us with some funding. Can you assist us with approvals?'”
In the 30-minute interview, Odell said the county would once again keep its year-to-year tax levy increase below 2 percent when the county executive’s budget is announced in October.
“We know we’re going to stay under the 2-percent cap,” she said, going on to clarify the increase would be less than 2 percent in real terms despite the flexibility offered by the state-mandated tax cap. “We know some things that haven’t changed, and that’s Albany still shoving their mandates, shifting their mandates down to us. None of that has changed. We have no relief there.”
Odell said the county would look towards innovative revenue streams, such as selling foreclosed property at market value, in order to avoid cuts to services.
The interview was held two days after Bikepath Country withdrew its bid to install signs with advertising on the county-run bikeway. Odell had been a supporter of the proposal, which offered the county the opportunity to generate some revenue but was met with intense opposition by a group of bikeway users. Odell said she had seen the project as a chance to support entrepreneurship while helping pay for maintenance of the trail.
“I think that one of the best arguments that was presented was that not everyone uses the bike path, so why is everyone responsible to maintain it?” she said. “I think that was an excellent point that was raised, but it just didn’t make the room. Those folks just didn’t come to the meeting and make that point.”
She added while it was within her authority to sign the contract without the legislature’s approval, she wanted to work with lawmakers on completing the deal.
“Could I have executed this contract and been within my authority? I absolutely could have. But that’s not my style of governance,” she said. “I wanted this to be a collaborative effort. I wanted everyone to weigh in, give their opinion, and make sure that this is something that would work for everyone.”
Odell, a Republican elected in 2011, is up for re-election next year.
The complete interview can be seen at

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.