MAYVILLE - The Chautauqua Lake Association has raised $20,000 to match recent county funding to get a third harvesting crew on the lake.
Chris Yates, CLA president, said the matching funds have been received and a full crew - which now totals six harvesting machines, several transport barges and dump trucks - has already been dispatched.
"We're moving along," Yates said recently to The Post-Journal. "We've met all the conditions and we've launched. We received the funding through gracious support of many people."
The County Legislature in June approved a $80,000 appropriation to the lake association specifically for weed harvesting. The local share money came from the county's fund balance ($50,000) and through a portion of the county's 5 percent occupancy tax ($30,000), the latter of which is earmarked for emergency lake use.
The occupancy tax allocation will deplete the emergency fund - which was a point of concern in the legislature when it was voted upon.
However, to receive the county funding, the CLA had to find a $20,000 matching source.
Asked how the CLA was able to secure the funds, Yates said, "Well we already had a strong body of support. Several people have been close to this situation and came forward."
Yates also thanked County Executive Greg Edwards for his assistance, noting, "I have had a few conversations with him now that we got our (matching) funds. We've been blessed by all this help."
Edwards said a contract with the county and the CLA has been signed, officially designating the funds to the lake association.
"Well I'm thrilled," Edwards said. "I was just notified the other day that they had secured their funding. This is a great effort and we all benefit from this."
State Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, announced recently that they had secured $50,000 through the state budget for the CLA. It was the second such payment the state lawmakers have secured for the lake.
Yates said with the third full crew on the lake, his workforce is about three-fourths its normal capacity.
"We still have about a quarter of our fleet sitting here," Yates said, "but I think we will be fine. Of course we don't know what Mother Nature is going to do. We could get some storm and some heavy wind and blow some of this stuff away."
"I'm just grateful to get our crews on the lake," he added.