Once again, Mr. William Gettler in his letter of April 10, 2014, has misinterpreted the Safe Dam Act and is guilty of spreading misleading information. In that Mr. Gettler prides himself as a self-made engineer, accountant, and attorney, among other professions, I am surprised that he failed to see the distinction between a “loan” and an “expenditure” as used in the Safe Dam Act. Mr. Gettler opens his letter by quoting N.J.S.A. 58:4-5 d (2) which begins, “Any expenditure made by the department pursuant to this section shall constitute, in each instance, a debt to the State.” Section 4-5 deals with the duties of owners of unsafe dams. More specifically, it compels the owners to repair unsafe dams, and if the owners do not comply, NJDEP will take corrective action (breach the dam; lower the lake; etc) and charge the owners for its expenditure. Loans for rehabilitating dams are not covered in section 4-5; in fact, they are not even mentioned.
The loans and how they are to be repaid are covered in Section 4-12, “Dam, Lake and Stream Project Fund” which Mr. Gettler has conveniently omitted. Moreover, Section 4-12 states: “Moneys appropriated from the Dam, Lake and Stream Project Fund may be used to provide loans bearing an interest rate of no more than 2 percent . . . to owners of private dams, lakes or streams in accordance with criteria for existing programs established under previous State bond acts, legislative initiatives, or federal aid guidelines.” The word “expenditure” is not mentioned in Section 4-12.
Rather than provide factual information about the rehabilitation of Lake Neepaulin dam which Mr. Gettler is very capable of doing, he chooses to continue to spew incorrect and misleading information that only widens the gulf between supporters and opponents of the Lake Neepaulin dam rehabilitation project. Mr. Gettler concludes his letter with accusations of “political shenanigans” by Friends of Lake Neepaulin and Wantage Township’s elected and appointed officials, an unjust and unfair assertion when, in reality, all both entities did was follow the law, abiding by the same “Safe Dam Act” that Mr. Gettler has deliberately taken out of context.