Lake Hopatcong Fund bill passes state Senate

| 10 Jan 2018 | 01:37

    Legislation sponsored by Sens. Anthony Bucco, Steven Oroho and Joe Pennacchio to establish the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” has been approved by the New Jersey legislature and heads to the Governor’s desk.
    The measure dedicates $500,000 annually to the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” for the protection, preservation, restoration, maintenance, management, and enhancement of New Jersey’s largest state-run lake. The funds would come from license fees required to operate power boats on nontidal waters.
    “Now, by securing long-term funding, Lake Hopatcong will receive the protection and conservation it needs,” said Senator Bucco (R-Morris, Somerset.) “I am glad the fund’s approval heads to the Governor’s desk. With its signing, the ‘Lake Hopatcong Fund’ will provide stability for the local families and small businesses that surround the lake.”
    “Funding for Lake Hopatcong is well deserved,” Pennacchio (R-Morris, Essex, Passaic) said. “Local economies are dependent on the survival of Lake Hopatcong, which is a vital national tourist attraction for the state. Unlike most New Jersey lakes, Lake Hopatcong’s lakeside businesses and restaurants depend on consistent weed removal for survival.”
    Lake Hopatcong, which lies on the southern border of Sussex and Morris Counties, is New Jersey’s largest freshwater lake – occupying 38 miles of shoreline and encompassing 2,658 acres. It is a heavily utilized freshwater fishery and offers year-round recreational opportunities. Local officials and advocates have said that this year’s weed growth is the worst in recent memory and some areas of the lake are no longer navigable.
    “Year-to-year funding does not provide stability for Lake Hopatcong,” Oroho (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) said. “A permanent fund to focus on the conservation of Lake Hopatcong will allow the lake to be maintained. When signed, the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” will protect the local economy and a significant tourist attraction.”
    Current law requires a fee of $18 for a 48-month power vessel operator’s license. Those fees are currently split between the State general fund and the Motor Vehicle Commission. Under the Senators’ bill, S-2389, those fees would be redirected to the “Lake Hopatcong Fund” created by their legislation.
    The legislation has passed by both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, it now heads to Gov. Chris Christie for approval.