PJ Keeler Announces Campaign for Re-Election
Columbia County Treasurer PJ Keeler has announced his plans to seek a third term as Treasurer, citing many accomplishments that have helped to put Columbia County in the strong fiscal position it finds itself today.
Keeler’s announcement comes on the heels of a recent report issued by Moody’s Investors Service that noted, “Columbia County benefits from (Aa3) growing reserves, a strong regional economy, and conservative fiscal management. Conservative management has reduced costs and liabilities. The County has successfully grown its available fund balance, a testament to its management team.”
First elected Columbia County Treasurer in 2011, PJ Keeler has employed a variety of fiscally conservative policies and initiatives to reduce costs and grow savings. They include, in part:
- Working to keep the average tax rate low at just 1% per year over the last 7 years, saving Columbia County taxpayers approximately $2.5 Million.
- Development of a Centralized Business Office, which eliminated duplication of personnel functions and expense across county government, while increasing efficiency.
- Created an initiative to help local fire departments cover the costs of a new state-mandated cancer insurance program, and did so in a way that would not negatively affect either the County’s or local towns’ compliance with the state tax cap.
- Refunded high interest bonds to obtain lower interest rates, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Negotiated with banks to obtain higher interest and no banking fees on County deposits.
In announcing his candidacy for re-election, Keeler said, “I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to do and the accomplishments we’ve made to date. Serving as County Treasurer is a rewarding, but stressful job. My obligation to safeguard the taxpayers’ money, while working to ensure deposits are wisely invested and expenses are kept as low as possible, is something I take very seriously.”
Treasurer Keeler’s efforts and accomplishments were rewarded by the State of New York when the State Comptroller’s Office removed Columbia County from its “susceptible to fiscal stress” watch list. This was achieved through the use of balanced budgets and strong operational oversight, leading to five straight years of budget surpluses.
As a longtime local businessman, Keeler has successfully owned and operated retail stores in Greenport, Catskill, Albany, and Kingston. He is no stranger to public service, having served as a member of the Greenport Rescue Squad since 1980, a member of the Columbia County Ambulance Association/EMS Advisory Board since 1999, and the A.B. Shaw (Claverack) Fire Company since 1976. He also serves as the Columbia County EMS Coordinator, a position he has held since 2000.