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Boaters may soon pay a fee to use Greenwood Lake

| 23 Jan 2018 | 03:09

— The governing body of Greenwood Lake and the Township of West Milford are discussing a proposed user fee for all boaters on the lake.
Finding sources of revenue to pay for lake protections and support tourism was discussed by the Township of West Milford’s local governing board and Paul Zarrillo, New Jersey Chair of the Greenwood Lake Commission (GLC), at a meeting on Jan. 17.
The topic is expected to be discussed again Thursday, Jan. 25, at the GLC meeting at West Milford Library.
West Milford officials and residents continue to feel slighted that the New Jersey State Assembly did not selected Greenwood Lake for a $500,000 grant in annual financial aid it recently awarded elsewhere. The state designated the grant to pay for protections for Lake Hopatcong and did not consider Greenwood Lake.
In the final months of 2017, West Milford officials passed a resolution requesting the same financial consideration without results.
Administrator Antoinette Battaglia hasn't given up on pursuit of the state funds and asked Zarrillo if the state could redistributed the money in the first year. Zarrillo will keep the governing body updated if there is any change in the state funding designation, he said.
A boating fee was the only other funding source discussed in the meeting. Zarrillo expects Warwick and Village of Greenwood Lake representatives will support the fee.
Mayor Bettina Bieri said she supports user fees that are instituted in a "proper manner." Councilman Peter McGuinness agreed.
Councilman Luciano “Lou” Signorino does not support a user fee and commended the GLC for doing a great job while operating with a shoestring budget.
Signorino said he understands the need for money to pay for care of the lake and suggested voluntary donations rather than a fee.
Councilman Tim Wagner said Greenwood Lake supplies water to 3.5 million people on a daily basis, making it much more important than other lakes in the state. He added that people living on Greenwood Lake already have expensive tax bills and should not have to pay a fee to use their boats on the lake.
Councilman Michael Hensley’s opinion is that any available funds should be split evenly between the two lakes.
The council and Zarrillo decided to table a new resolution to ask state legislators again for funding. Instead, they will continue to look for other funding sources.
They did instruct Zarrillo to send a letter to state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio’s office with different verbiage. Zarrillo will begin a letter campaign to get the financial help that is needed for the lake.
Removing stumps and weeds from the lake will continue to increase lake quality, the mayor said. Zarrillo said a request for proposals for pesticides has been advertised.