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Lake May Rely On Taxing District

Recently, we received an “Important Notice” from the Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) whose purpose it seemed was to send an alarm about possible recommendations of creating a Lake Management District.

It highlighted the potential that any such district could be empowered to collect “new taxes and/or fees that the legislature will authorize to operate the district.” The implication was that the CLA would “bird-dog” any hearings and presumably oppose any such “new” fees or taxes. The “notice” ended with a request to donate to the CLA.

I found the notice to be somewhat “off-putting” and a bit premature. There has yet been no recommendations on the creation of such a district, and it would seem than even if a district were empowered to raise revenue–that such funding would be intended to help organizations like the CLA do their work. Any over-arching lake district would logically hire those already experienced in matters like weed-cutting and lake shore clean-up to continue those efforts.

It is too early to know, but the effect of the notice could be to diminish (not increase) county commitment to lake clean-up efforts. Legislators from places like Arkwright and Ripley are not likely to support efforts on Chautauqua Lake if those who live there are not interested in supporting it themselves.

Though not mentioned, this recent communication highlights the reality that this has been a tough financial year for lake funding. Funding that formerly came through the state Senate has not (and will likely not) be forthcoming because we do not have a state senator in the majority anymore. Thus, over-all, there has been less government money coming from Albany to such organizations like the CLA.

This also means that the only government support we can expect in the future for the Lake will likely be from the local level–either from the county or the townships that bound the lake.

Perhaps the CLA can survive without government support. Maybe through membership and private support, they can continue doing what they do. The “notice” seems to imply that this is the direction they have chosen to go.

My own view as one who lives on the lake, is that its challenges are too large and needs too great, to be addressed without substantial support from government or government-created entities to insure regular and adequate funding for its maintenance. This is certainly true of the effort to expand sewer districts which are needed to keep sewage out of lhe Lake.

A few years ago, the CLA was virtually the only organization dealing with matters affecting the lake. Now there are several. Perhaps the notice was meant as an attempt to regain that old stature. If so, it failed in that regard.

Political change is never easy. It is still my hope that a way (or ways) can be found to unify the various voices around the lake so that we are all working together for a common purpose.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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