In the fall of 2010, County Executive Greg Edwards was quoted as saying "Chautauqua Lake is not the responsibility of county government." This response was made after the county executive's 2011 budget reflected a $200,000 decrease in funds for lake management, namely weed cutting and weed removal by the Chautauqua Lake Association.
Now, after meeting with local leaders during a Chamber of Commerce event in the town of Chautauqua, he said that herbicides could help the weed problem.
It is interesting that he listens to local leaders and business people but avoids the complaints that have been registered by lake property owners.
How long are we going to study the issues and options? An impact statement, which is necessary to obtain DEC permission to administer herbicides, has not been updated for 22 years. Why not?
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer promised $1 million to solve the problem. This was just Washington rhetoric. New York state government under Gov. Cuomo is only interested in constructing a new Tapanzee Bridge over the Hudson River downstate.
It is now June and the county leaders and business people are concerned about the financial impact that a weeded lake will bring. One only need remember the 2011 Labor Day weekend when the algae and weed condition of the lake drove people away. This was for both ecological and health reasons.
If nothing is done soon, government will see the decline of lake property sales and depreciation of land values, which will lower the taxable collection of dollars to support local and county government; decline of tourism and related events; non utilization of the lake and economic failure of restaurants and motel businesses.
We do not need more studies. We need leadership and participation of all parties. Now not later.
A temporary measure would be to reinstate the $200,000 from a $13 million newly discovered county fund balance to the Chautauqua Lake Association for weed cutting and weed removal during this summer of 2012.
If we choose to do nothing and wake up to this severe problem, there will be a very serious economic impact. Take this action now and look for a more permanent solution to be implemented before the 2013 lake season.
Norman Czubaj lives in Stow.