Meeting Set To Discuss Chautauqua Lake Boat Fees
31 Mar 2023 — The Post-Journal
By Gregory Bacon

Chautauqua County officials are inviting stakeholders to a public meeting about the possibility of having fees for those who use boats on Chautauqua Lake.

County Executive PJ Wendel has announced there will be an informational meeting on Wednesday, April 12, at 5:30 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers in order to explore and discuss the need for boat user fees on Chautauqua Lake. "This meeting will begin the dialogue, and discuss the formation of a committee to look into such fees being applied to Chautauqua Lake in the effort to create a dedicated funding source that would be implemented in 2024 for lake maintenance projects," he said in statement.

Earlier this year, Chautauqua Town Supervisor Don Emhardt said he supports boat fees, saying they could be collected at the boat launches on the lake. Other lakes in the state, including Lake George, charges boat fees.

Wendel said he had discussed with Emhardt this idea previously and thinks it has merit. "Those that use the lake the most would be contributing," he said during a phone interview.

Fees could range between $50 to $100 and could be applied to boats over a certain size, to avoid charging kayaks, paddle boats or canoes.

According to Wendel, if the county legislature agrees to a boat fee, they would have to send a request to the state for final approval. Because of the multiple steps involved, there would not be any boat fees during this summer or fall, even if both the county and state legislature give their backing.

Wendel said any money collected from boat fees would go back to the lake for maintenance. "I'm committed to keeping a lake fund, not to go to taxes, not to go to salaries or to make budget gaps. This goes to the lake, period. That's where the money stays," he said.

In the end, Wendel said whether it's boat fees or higher occupancy tax rates, his goal is to help improve Chautauqua Lake and other waterways. "I just want to be pro-active and establish an alternative funding source moving forward," he said.

This story is provided free courtesy of The Post-Journal.
"Meeting Set To Discuss Chautauqua Lake Boat Fees" The Post-Journal 31 Mar 2023: A6