Greenwood Lake effort for annual state funding continues

15 Mar 2018 | 01:17

By Ann Genader
Still smarting because Greenwood Lake was not included when New Jersey legislators passed a bill providing $500,000 annual funding for Lake Hopatcong, activists are continuing their fight for funding for the local lake.
Bill S-2167 calling for $500,000 annual funding for Greenwood Lake has been introduced by state Republican State Senator Joseph Pennacchio. Paul Zarrillo, New Jersey Co-Chair of the Greenwood Lake Commission is confident that with concentrated effort from local officials and public sector the bill can become law.
Mayor Bettina Bieri, the Township of West Milford Council and Zarrillo were shocked and puzzled when last year Greenwood Lake was not included in the initial lake funding request.
In December 2017, the local governing body passed a resolution urging legislators to sponsor a bill establishing a fund for the dedication of annual funding for Greenwood Lake from power vessel operator fees.
They said in their resolution that money was needed for protection, preservation, restoration, maintenance, management and enhancement of the lake.
Pennacchio introduced the bill last week in response.
Sen. Nellie Pou (D- Bergen and Passaic Counties) co-sponsored the bill. It has been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
Greenwood Lake is part of the boundary between New Jersey and New York. It is in the New Jersey Highlands Preservation area and is the headwaters of the Wanaque River which drains to the Monksville and Wanaque Reservoirs and supplies drinking water to approximately three million New Jersey residents and thousands of businesses.
Zarrillo worked closely with Pennacchio to get the legislative bill introduced. He is very optimistic that the bill will be passed.
“Once things are in motion to move it forward, we will be reaching out to the community and all concerned residents to support the GLC efforts to have this legislation passed and signed into law,” Zarrillo said. “Our economy will suffer if we don’t find a stable way to pay for annual weed harvesting and storm water management. We should not have to scramble each year to find money we need to keep boaters and swimmers safe.”
The action seeks a Greenwood Lake money source as a non-lapsing, revolving fund in the state Department of Treasury. Created with monies received and dedicated to the fund by virtue of the mandated fees collected by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for power vessel operator licenses, it would be administered by the lake commission.