Lake Commission Comes Under Attack
Monday, August 20, 2012 • 11:25pm
JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, NJ -- The Lake Hopatcong Commission came under fire Monday from Tim Clancy, a Lake Hopatcong resident, for not trying hard enough to find funding to continue its existence.
Roxbury Township representative Rich Zoschak said he has approached his township, but the budget has already been adopted and Roxbury has a limited number of lake front properties that benefit from the commission.
Hopatcong representative Dan McCarthy said every time he approaches Mayor Sylvia Petillo she knows he is going to ask for money for the commission, but there is none available there either.
He said Commission Chair Russell Felter, who was not at the meeting, made a presentation to the three State Senators and six Assemblymen who represent the lake communities. A bill to continue funding of the commission passed the senate environment committee, but has not been heard by the budget committee, and has not come up for assembly committee votes, State Department of Environmental Protection representative Kerry Kirk Pflugh said.
Clancy said he has heard the state will come through with money for 10 years. He said he wrote to the commission insisting they demand emergency funding from the towns and counties represented.
Commission Administrator Donna Macalle-Holly said there is enough funding to keep her in her position until the end of December.
The commission heard a presentation from Steve Ellis of the State Park Service on weed harvesting on the lake this summer.
He said there are four weed harvesters, up from three last year, so the process is moving faster. He said Mike Calderio, the crew supervisor, has been spending a lot of time maintaining the harvesters so they have been on line much of the time.
“The credit goes to the crew,” Ellis said. “They had not a lot of time to get going. They removed 1800 cubic yards of biomass. Last year they removed 1100 in the entire summer.”
“They have learned where the rocks are,” he added. “If you hit a rock, it’s $5,000,” McCarthy said.
Commissioner Tom Foley, the alternate from Mount Arlington, said a person he is acquainted with hit something way off from the state park buoys that ruined his propeller. Resident John Kersman said there is an old dock that is sometimes marked by a buoy but sometimes not. Macalle-Holly said she would notify the State Police Marine Patrol to get a marker buoy installed.
Fred Lubnow of PrincetonHydro reported on the grants his firm administers for the commission.
The grants are “319s,” which means they are federal pass-through grants, Kirk Pflugh said. She said the EPA hasn’t asked for any proposals for next year, but she believes it will.
Lubnow said most of the existing grant projects are nearly complete. One exception is a proposal to install floating wetland islands off Ashley Cove which will be done if there is money left from an earlier grant. He said the artificial islands, “suck up nutrients.” He also told the commission, “the DEP says no permits are required.”
Ashley Cove is 1.7 acres and the islands are only 500 square feet. Macalle-Holy said Jefferson Township agreed to have them placed. She noted Ashley Cove is where the weed harvesters are docked.