I’m in total disbelief and disappointment over Governor Murphy’s, with advice from his staff, veto of the Greenwood Lake funding bill that for the first time would give permanent funding to the Greenwood Lake Commission. This is the same legislation that was signed into law for Lake Hopatcong. It shows a continued disrespect for the residents and businesses of West Milford, Passaic County and all those who enjoy a wide range of year round activities on Greenwood Lake and it’s scenic surroundings.
I would personally like to thank Senator Pennacchio and his staff for all their hard work over the past 18 months in writing this bill and guiding it through the legislative process in Trenton and to our primary and co sponsors in the Senate and Assembly.
It’s so disingenuous of the Governor and his staff to applaud the bills’ sponsors and the Greenwood Lake Commission for seeking to provide resources that would actually allow the Greenwood Lake Commission to perform their legislative mandate to protect, preserve, maintain and manage the 26 square mile Greenwood Lake Watershed. Then, by using New York State, not being a participant, NJDOT taking funds for highways and bridges from a Maritime Fund and his PR driven 13 million dollar HABS program, as the excuse to veto this bill.
The Governor and his staff are clueless in stating New York has not indicated any plans for annual funding of Greenwood Lake. There have been discussions with legislators for matching funds, with anticipation of a New Jersey law to present as a framework for a New York law.
Greenwood Lake being state owned and first deemed over 250 years ago as a source of water for the Morris Canal Company, certainly qualifies for funding from the Maritime Fund, more so than for the NJDOT.
Most ridiculous of all is to state that funding is already available to support many of the bills laudable goals, through the PR driven HABS Program, a one-time statewide effort made available to hundreds of lakes and towns to test various proposed solution, leaving Greenwood Lake with no permanent funding.
With no funding, Greenwood Lake will most likely not be able to participate in the Governor’s lauded HABS Program. How ironic is that, Governor? It takes a 50% match of any funds requested from the proposed grants, so the second largest public lake in New Jersey, which supplies water to over three million residents and thousands of businesses, will not be able to work on finding solutions to the dangerous HABS.
One possible solution would be to revisit the boat launching fees (a tax), that I’m sure the Governor and his staff would fully support. Unfortunately, it’s been projected to only generate around $75,000 annually and most boaters and marina owners are against another tax.
I’ve had a total of 23 calls, texts or e-mails from people so upset with this veto and five mentioned the need for a property tax revolt.
PAUL M. ZARRILLO
NJ CO-CHAIR, GREENWOOD LAKE COMMISSION