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Yessman objects to state marine cuts

SCHUYLER COUNTY—Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Yessman has expressed his concerns about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget and its elimination of state revenue sharing for marine law enforcement.
Yessman explained the current funding has been in existence since 1959 when a joint legislative committee on motorboats convened to discuss the growth of recreational boating in New York State. This committee determined that the best way to address their concerns was to support local law enforcement with state financial support, sharing revenues collected from boater registration to allow for local monitoring and increased safety on waterways.
Yessman said he is concerned that if the governor’s Executive Budget is passed as proposed, boaters can expect to see drastic cuts to local law enforcement marine patrols which provide assistance to boaters such as enforcing Navigation Law, providing safety inspections for required equipment, towing disabled boats and rescue for boaters in distress. These funds are also utilized to provide boater safety courses that are required under the law.
The governor’s proposed budget bill for 2011-2012 repeals Article 4-A of the New York State Navigation Law. This will eliminate the 1959 provision that provided financial support to counties enforcing New York State’s Navigation Laws. Once this provision is repealed counties will no longer be eligible for reimbursement under this program.
This will also include reimbursement for marine law enforcement activities that were incurred in 2010. This is the second time in three years that funding for reimbursement of previous year’s activities will be cut. In 2010 funding was cut from 75 percent to 50 percent which also included the previous year’s reimbursement.
Yessman added that in 2011 New York state would only need to fund statewide local law enforcement $2.3 million to maintain the current level of financial support to local law enforcement. These funds come from recreational boaters and they should remain intact to provide necessary services to the boating public.
Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department patrols 35 miles of coastline in four lakes: Seneca, Cayuta, Waneta and Lamoka. Navigational patrols check for licenses, emergency equipment and safety equipment including proper amount of personal floatation devices. They also investigate accidents, rescue swimmers and disabled boats.




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