Hayworth meets with Odell, other Putnam officials
The economy, jobs, governmental mandates and regulations were on the minds of some two dozen elected officials from Putnam and Northern Westchester Thursday during a conference with Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.
County Executive Mary Ellen Odell said everyone was on the same page with the issues: "Our prime concern is economic growth while getting New Yorkers and in particular Putnam County residents back to work while insuring that the federal government becomes smarter and more focused."
Odell said Washington needs to streamline its processes: "We must collaborate. FEMA is dragging its heels. Mandates are killing all of us. Transportation funding is critical."
Hayworth agreed that the federal government should "not impose burdens where it has nothing helpful to add. This is a natural tendency of bureaucracy. We have added layers of law over decades—well meaning—but such actions have resulted in disproportionate burdens for local communities. A new commonsense approach must be undertaken to the size and scope of the federal government."
The issue of Medicaid also came under fire when Odell reported Putnam spending $10 million annually for 4,000 residents. "This is insane. It boggles my mind," said the executive.
Southeast Deputy Supervisor Robert Cullen said if the Medicaid funding stream was changed, "we could give our property owners a 40 percent tax cut."
Hayworth replied: "The question becomes: How does the government assist folks who are truly in need? Better and more
effective ways must be found assuring that every dollar spent is spent sensibly while providing greater benefit. Right now
government has added layers of cost that are totally unnecessary."
Putnam Valley Supervisor Robert Tendy told the gathering at the county's Emergency Operations and Training Center in Carmel while "many federal regulations were created with good intentions, they make very little sense and local governments are stuck with the bills."
Tendy said Washington must "do less because the feds are so removed from local reality. The EPA draws up regulations that are strangling us. The Department of Energy is doing everything it can to eliminate the local manufacturing of energy. The federal government is incompetent."
Kent Supervisor Kathy Doherty also vented her frustrations with the EPA: "They create totally ridiculous rules and regulations and walk away. If I cleaned up a spill in that fashion, I'd be arrested."