JOHNSTOWN - The state is asking Fulton County to consider reinstating its summer boat patrols on the Great Sacandaga Lake, but county supervisors don't seem that interested.
The Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee didn't take action on the matter when it met Monday, although Sheriff Thomas Lorey said the state is willing to offer the county marine vessels "free of charge" through a reimbursement deal.
The county decided in late 2011, for monetary reasons, to discontinue regular sheriff's boat patrols on the Great Sacandaga Lake and major lakes in the town of Caroga.
"Frankly, I haven't seen the need for a permanent patrol out there," Lorey said Monday of the Great Sacandaga Lake.
Released at the committee meeting at the County Office Building was an Oct. 4 letter from the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation to Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael F. Gendron. In the letter, Larry Migliozzi of the state's Bureau of Marine Services asked the county to consider "resurrecting" a marine patrol on the Great Sacandaga Lake during summer months.
The Fulton County Sheriff's Department currently has two patrol boats that can be launched anytime for emergency purposes. But Lorey said his department isn't "actively" patrolling the county's larger lakes anymore.
"Fulton County has a vast amount of navigable water within its borders and is one of only two counties located in the Adirondack Park that does not currently operate a marine patrol," Migliozzi wrote.
He said the Bureau of Marine Services oversees distribution of registration funds to qualifying counties and municipalities through the Navigation Law Enforcement State Aid Program. A portion of the money collected from vessel registration fees are provided for distribution to localities that operate marine patrols.
He said the county could receive 50 percent aid for operating costs, and state training.
"Fulton County would certainly be eligible to receive this aid to help offset the expense of running a patrol," Migliozzi wrote.
He added that the state can also provide equipment such as boats, engines and trailers at "no cost" to the county. He said that since 2010, the state has provided 22 new vessels - the majority being 21 and 24-foot Justice Class Boston Whalers - to municipalities.
Johnstown 4th Ward Supervisor William Waldron, committee chairman, said he received a call from the public requesting reinstatement of the boat patrol.
"The difficulty is the personnel costs and the staffing," said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead.
Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said state police and state Department of Environmental Conservation officers currently patrol the Great Sacandaga Lake.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.