Welfare for Marinas, Boats, and Homes on Lake Hopatcong
Governor Christie insists that we are broke and is slashing spending.
In fact, the Governor has disproportionately targeted DEP and clean energy funds for cuts and diversions.
But, despite this alleged State fiscal crisis, his DEP just coughed up money to subsidize the marinas, restaurants, and lakefront property owners that line the shores of Lake Hopatcong.
According to the Star Ledger, reversing a decade long policy, the DEP will fund weed removal on the lake from constitutionally dedicated watershed management funds. (see: State to assume responsibility for Lake Hopatcong weed-harvesting operation
The Ledger story fails to mention two critical facts:
First, local political pressure blocked the Lake Hopatcong Commission – which was created to manage the lake – from imposing small users fees to pay for the program that protects the asset that provides economic value to the region, including commercial marinas and restaurants, as well as residential property values
For an example of these selfish local politics at play and to get a flavor of the crude local debate, see:
- State Senators Block Lake Hopacong User Fee Talk
- User fees shelved – future of Commission questioned
Narrow and selfish local interests have blocked all efforts to raise necessary funds locally.
Second, the DEP watershed moneys that will now fund the project were Constitutionally dedicated by the voters to specific purposes.
Surely, voters did NOT intend to subsidize lakefront property owners, luxury boaters, and businesses who refused to pay their fair share.
In fact, it was exactly this kind of politically driven patronage pork that created public outrage and the need to dedicate environmental money.
Shame on DEP Commissioner Martin for allowing partisan crony politics to drive DEP funding decisions.
For further info, I have witten about and photographed the Lake – those interested can see: