Measure Would Give Lake Officials Dedicated Revenue Stream for Environmental Cleanup
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Bob Smith which would authorize the Greenwood Lake Commission to charge certain fees to permanently fund environmental cleanup of the lake was approved by the Senate today by a vote of 21-17.
“As New Jersey seeks financial reckoning in terms of how we fund our biggest priorities, we’re going to look for programs to become more self-sufficient,” said Senator Smith, D-Middlesex and Somerset, and the Chair of the Senate Environment Committee. “For many years, we’ve funded the operations of the Greenwood Lake Commission from State coffers, to ensure that the lake remains a top-tier recreation destination in the tri-State area. But as we continue to try to do more with less, we need to give the Commission a dedicated revenue source to continue its mission of preserving the natural beauty of Greenwood Lake.”
The bill, S-1833, would give the Greenwood Lake Commission in Passaic County the authority to charge certain specified fees for docks, wharfs, moorings and boats on the lake. The funds collected would be deposited into a dedicated account, and would be used to fund the Commission’s activities in maintaining and cleaning up the lake, including stump removal and weed harvesting from the lake, and the implementation of stormwater and septic management plans. Senator Smith added that the bill is entirely permissive, and that the ultimate choice to adopt fees would be up to the Commission
“This year’s budget – which we’ll be voting on shortly – is a bare-bones spending plan, and it’s likely that next year’s will be too,” said Senator Smith. “There simply isn’t enough money for the worthiest State programs, and we need to be creative about how we’re going to fund our needs. I think in this case, it’s appropriate that the people who get the most out of the pristine beauty of Greenwood Lake chip in to pay for maintenance and services there.”
The lawmaker noted that as a bi-state agency, the Greenwood Lake Commission requires identical enabling legislation in both New Jersey and New York before it could begin charging user fees. The New York State Legislature has already approved a measure to allow the Commission to impose fees, but that legislation expires on June 30 unless New Jersey has a similar law in place.
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.