Former Legislator and Deputy County Executive Dan Birmingham recently announced his intent to return to county government, kicking off his candidacy in the 2024 race for the Seventh District of the Putnam County Legislature.
The district is currently represented by Republican Joseph Castellano who, due to the county’s term limit law, will be retiring from the Legislature next year.
In addition to serving as deputy county executive during the Bondi administration (1995-98), Birmingham, also a Republican, served on the Legislature from 2004 to 2012, when he decided to forego seeking a fourth term.
Birmingham said his priorities include keeping a lid on county spending, continuing the dedication of excess sales tax surpluses to direct tax relief, and encouraging environmentally-sound economic development that would lower the tax burden on Putnam’s homeowners.
“I believe my background in public finance can be of assistance to the county’s taxpayers,” he said. “With all of the mandates that are being imposed on local governments from Albany, it’s critical we continue to innovate new ways to lighten the real property tax burden on Putnam’s taxpayers. Sound, environmentally-friendly economic development is a must. Increasing the tax base with new environmentally-sound commercial rate-payers will go a long way in easing the tax burden on the rest of us.”
Birmingham supported the successful passage of many taxpayer-friendly pieces of legislation during his previous service on the County Legislature. He also authored the recodification of the county’s ethics law and was key in the establishment of both a tax stabilization reserve fund and a debt service reduction reserve fund.
In 2009, Birmingham led the charge to place a referendum on the ballot to reform the County Charter to permit the Legislature to independently reduce county spending during the middle of a fiscal year. Following a successful veto override by the Legislature spearheaded by Birmingham, the voters of the county resoundingly approved the measure by a vote of 9,552 to 7,774.
This reform legislation is now codified as Section 7.07 of the County Charter.
“This piece of legislation is perhaps the one I’m most proud of,” he said. “Prior to the passage of this ballot question, the voters’ elected representatives on the County Legislature had no independent power to cut spending mid-year in the face of decreasing revenues. We were powerless to react independently to a worsening economy and now this law has empowered the County Legislature to put the brakes on runaway spending during times of fiscal stress. The voters overwhelmingly agreed with this reform measure and since that time, both branches of county government have a fair say in keeping a lid on spending.”
Birmingham also served as first chairman of the Putnam County Industrial Development Agency, from 1995-98.
“Since its creation, the IDA has attracted new commercial enterprises to the county, which have not only created new jobs in the county but, more importantly, taken some of the tax burden off of the homeowners of the county,” he said. “The IDA has assisted in the expansion of Putnam County’s tax base, which translates into these commercial businesses paying a larger portion of real property taxes that otherwise would have to be borne by Putnam’s homeowners.”
The Seventh Legislative District encompasses parts of Brewster, Mahopac and Southeast.
Birmingham grew up in Mahopac and has lived in Brewster and Southeast since 2001.
“I believe it’s important this district be represented by someone who understands both parts of the district,” he said. “Having grown up in Mahopac and having attended Mahopac schools and later serving as a village trustee in the Village of Brewster (2001-03), I believe I understand the ‘pulse’ of both portions of the district. Also, having represented the district on the County Legislature for nine years and having served as deputy county executive, I know all of the neighborhoods of the district and will be able to hit the ground running on day one.”
Birmingham received a bachelor’s degree in history from The Catholic University of America in 1990 and his law degree from The Columbus School of Law at the same university in 1995. He is a partner in a public finance law firm where his practice centers on municipal and public finance. Birmingham is also an adjunct professor at Pace University, where he teaches a course on public finance law.