Putnam County officials at odds over marine unit budget cuts
Officials in Putnam County are at odds over defunding the sheriff's marine unit.
News 12 is told the controversy and concerns are the topic of discussion after three water deaths occurred last weekend along the Delaware River.
County Sheriff Robert Langley believes there’s a liability on the lawmakers in the county. “I think it’s bad management, not understanding that emergency services are an essential service,” says Langley.
The boats were removed from patrolling the Hudson River after lawmakers cut the service from the county’s budget to save taxpayers $45,000.
County Executive MaryEllen Odell tells News 12 the unit was redundant and removed to consolidate services with other departments already on water patrol.
However, Langley disagrees and says the marine units are crucial to safety and rescue operations. “There’s been four incidents so far on the Hudson River that the sheriff’s office should have been responding to,” says Langley.
According to the sheriff, local police and fire departments are overwhelmed with increased calls. He wants the unit reinstated, but Odell says that isn’t something to be considered.
The unit currently has one boat remaining on Lake Oscawana in Putnam Valley. The other two boats on the Hudson River were defunded.