The meeting was the second information session held by the Chautauqua Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency and consulting firm, Barton & Loguidice, as part of Phase One of the process. The goal was to present options on how to form a district and what made the most sense based on input.
The CLPRA estimates that, based on historical spending by local agencies, it would take a minimal annual budget in excess of $3 million to maintain current in-lake and watershed initiatives. Funding from a Lake District would be funneled through the CLPRA to those agencies.
Barton and Loguidice’s Jayme Berschard said there are several ways to define boundaries of a lake district including near lake properties that have waterfront access or shoreline properties, “Then we have our watershed, based on the HUC boundaries, which is lot of what the Lake Watershed Management Plan would have drawn up are the watershed boundaries that contribute to some of the watershed for the lake basin and how water basically moves in a particular area. Another potential idea to draw a boundary is to possibly use the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.”
Berschard said Chautauqua County is unique in that it has an almost regional version of a LWRP.
When it comes to funding mechanisms for the Lake District, Bershard presented possible options such as a Near Lake District Tax, a Watershed/Drainage Area District Tax, a User Impact fee, and a Boat User fee.
Based on polling done at the meeting and online, over 60% of attendees support long-term and sustainable funding for Chautauqua Lake.
When ranked, attendees preferred to see a hybrid model for funding a lake district, with a watershed tax district coming in second, and a watershed impact district coming in third. Many cited creating a county-wide tax district as part of the hybrid model.
Deputy County Executive of Economic Development Mark Geise said another public meeting is set to occur late this Fall, possibly in November, as part of Phase One of the study. He said Phase 2 is anticipated to start in 2023 and would involve fleshing out what model will be used for a district, what the fees will be, who will pay those fees, and where the money will be directed.
Attendees were directed to send any additional input on the Lake District to the project page, which can be found here: https://bartonloguidice.mysocialpinpoint.com/chautauqua-co-lake-fund