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5 Things: NJ & Lake Hopatcong Weed Harvesting

Why the Lake Hopatcong Commission is considering handing off its weed-harvesting operation to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The Lake Hopatcong Commission will vote on whether to turn over control of its weed harvesters to the state Department of Environmental Protection at its meeting at the on Feb. 21.

Here's what you need to know about the vote.

  1. You Need to Know The Background: The Lake Hopatcong Commission, created in 2000, was given $3 million to cover start-up costs. But the cash-strapped commission has run out of money in recent years, resulting in the commission asking the DEP for about $400,000 to continue weed-harvesting the lake in 2011. Handing off responsibility—and costs—to the state would allow the commission to focus on other things, such as maintenance.
  2. You Need to Know Why They'll Vote: Because it's not that simple. Giving the state control of the weed-harvesting operation could have serious impact on the commission and the lake, Commissioner Russ Felter told the New Jersey Herald. "The language (in the memorandum) wasn't tight enough," Felter told the newspaper. "There were questions — what they could do with the harvesters and where the harvesters would go." Felter, also Jefferson's mayor, added that commission employees would be paid less when they become employed by the state.
  3. You Need to Know About Work-Arounds: The commission has looked for ways around handing off the harvesters, but to no avail, Felter said. Proposals included an unpopular boating fee and fundraising.
  4. You Need to Know About a Trial Run: The commission wants the agreement to run on a year-to-year basis to ensure things work out.
  5. You Need to Know More About the LHC: Click here for the commission's website.

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