The Putnam Examiner

Murphy Announces Funding Stream for Putnam’s Lakes

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By Andrew Vitelli

Senator Terrence Murphy announced legislation Thursday to create a funding stream for flooding and watershed issues in lake communities in Putnam County.

Murphy was joined by officials from throughout Putnam at a press conference at Lake Mahopac to discuss the available funding.

“We know how expensive it is to keep these lakes as great as they need to be and as they should be,” Murphy said. “The reality is that it’s a very expensive proposition for the county and for the municipalities.”

The funding, Murphy explained, would be available through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, which was increased to $300 million this fiscal year. By designating lakes in the towns of Carmel, Southeast, and Patterson as inland waterways, the county and local municipalities can apply for EPF money.

“He’s done the heavy lifting, and he’s made sure that our region, particularly Putnam County, has the ability to access these funds,” Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said. “What the senator has done is given the people of Putnam County and the leadership an opportunity to help us relieve some of the financial burden and move ahead and move forward and help us keep our beautiful lakes and streams clean and free of pollution.”

Designated waterways include Lake Mahopac, Teakettle Lake, MacGregor Lake, Secor Lake, and Glencoma Lake in the Town of Carmel; Lake Charles, Lost Lake, and Putnam Lake in Patterson; and Tonetta Lake in Southeast.

“With this sort of funding, we can hopefully expedite maybe some of the improvements in [Putnam Lake] that we’ve been pushing off for a little bit,” Patterson Supervisor Richard Williams said. “We have a lot of waterways in Putnam County and especially in the Town of Patterson.”

Murphy was also joined by Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith, County Legislator Carl Albano, Carmel Supervisor Ken Schmitt, Carmel Councilmember Suzi McDonough, Executive Director of the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce Erin Meagher, and Ed Barnett, who served as Putnam’s watershed coordinator.

“The business community really does support this initiative,” Meagher said. “It is a great opportunity, especially for Lake Mahopac, to be revitalized in all sorts of areas, and especially with our vibrant restaurant district and tourism opportunities.”

The funding, Murphy said, can be used for flood mitigation, economic development and water quality issues.

“It is a tedious process, but the reality is that we’re allowing our local municipalities and our county to access these funds now,” said Murphy.

Sheriff Smith added, “I think this is a very good day in Carmel and all of the towns and villages in Putnam County, because this is really about protecting the environment and about protecting these great lake resources and protecting wildlife, and also revitalization.”

The Environmental Protection Fund was created in 1993 to fund environmental programs in New York State. After seeing its funding nearly halved between 2008 and 2011, the EPF have more than doubled since 2013. In the 2016-2017 budget, the $300 million allotted represents a $123 million increase.

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