One of the large weed harvesters is offline because of damage to its paddle wheel, Josh Osowski, state park representative to the Lake Hopatcong Commission, reported at the meeting Monday, June 11. Fortunately, the state has another paddle wheel and the big harvester won’t be down for long, he said.

At present, there are three large harvesters in Crescent Cove along with one shore conveyor and two barges. A small harvester and a shore conveyor are in Ashley Cove. Because the lake is so high, the large harvester cannot pass under Brady Bridge to get to Ashley Cove, even with the tower folded down, Osowski noted. Commissioner Fred Steinbaum said the water is one and a half feet over the dam.

Steinbaum is trying to get a Boston Whaler repaired so it can be used to transport staff in necessary, but even if it is seaworthy, the Commission does not have a slip for it. The commissioners want to berth it at Lee’s County Park, but must wait for the next Morris County Park Commission meeting on Monday, June 25, to know if a slip will be made available.

Still trying to resolve what could be a budget shortfall, chair Ronald Smith asked Osowski to come back with a weed harvesting budget that totals no more than $355,000. The current budget for harvesting through this summer and for the beginning of the next season is $414,734. Smith said he is working to find another source of funds to cover the difference.

Extra work for commission secretary Colleen Conover necessitated an increase in her hours to 30 a week. Her salary ($45,000 a year) and other administrative costs make it impossible to dedicate more than $400,000 to the harvesting, Smith said.

Among Conover’s added duties are reviewing land use applications in the four lake municipalities. Conover will call the land use boards in each municipality 10 days before the next scheduled meeting and will look over applications. She will bring to the attention of the commission any application she deems likely to have an impact on the lake.

This is a five-foot drawdown year. From the audience, John Kurzman of Jefferson asked if the refill will be started December 1 and if lake ice will be allowed to rise. Smith told him the state Department of Environmental Protection makes those decisions. Osowski said the DEP is reviewing suggestions, but is not committed to a December 1 refill for 2018.

Steinbaum showed the commission and the audience photos of docks in disrepair. He is especially concerned with the dock at the Alamac Club in Mount Arlington.

Marty Kane of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum said that Mount Arlington mayor Mike Stanzilis has researched the ownership of the former Alamac Hotel property since it was destroyed by fire in 1948. Once that is determined, the borough will know who to contact about repairing the dock.

Marty Kane from the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum and the Lake Hopatcong Foundation addresses the commission. (Photo: Jane Primerano)

Steinbaum stated that some of the larger boards floating on the lake are dangerous to boats. He suggested that the commission request Lee’s County Park to install a dumpster where people who pull boards out of the lake can dispose of them. Conover said the park is not interested in doing that, but Steinbaum suggested contacting the county freeholders.

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Jane is a veteran journalist with years of experience in municipal, police and court reporting as well as feature writing. She is a native of the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township. A true Jersey Girl, she loves the beach as well as the lake, horses and classic cars. She lives in Warren County and has three grown children. She can be reached at jane.primerano@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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