Sacandaga Protection Committee 2021 Report
For the past several years the SPC has been happy to report that there were no major developments or issues with the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD) and the local community. We have asked for your donations to keep our lobbyist and attorneys on board, and stressed we needed to be prepared for the unexpected.
Well, the unexpected occurred at the end of the year. On the January agenda for the HRBRRD, the normally routine organizational meeting, there was an agenda item to revise the permit system rules. There was no other public notice other than a line item on their agenda. The SPC routinely reviews the meeting agenda, and makes an effort to have one or more of our board members attend their meetings. If we had not noticed this agenda item, the potential changes to the rules system would now be underway.
In light of the controversial rule changes and the turmoil that the last attempt to change the rules caused, our opinion is that it was unconscionable that the HRBRRD Administration would contemplate any changes to the permit rules without consulting stakeholders and conducting a comprehensive public education program.
In conjunction with our lobbyist and attorneys at Hodgson Russ, the SPC made our concerns known at the state and local level. We notified the GSLA and other lake associations, and along with other concerned lake stakeholders, formally requested the HRBRRD Board remove this proposal from their agenda and postpone any action on this until a time when the majority of our lake residents are in town and are allowed an appropriate opportunity to review and comment on the proposed changes.
We are pleased to share that the HRBRRD board listened to our concerns and removed the resolution from the January meeting agenda.
We are hopeful the HRBRRD Administration will recognize the severity of their decision to place this item on their agenda in the dead of winter, and not to involve the community in such an important matter. We do not know if this proposal will come up again, but if it does the SPC and our attorneys will fully review the changes and work with all stakeholders to ensure the lake community is fully represented.
In other activity this year the SPC met and advised the HRBRRD Executives on the first permit fee increase since the 1980’s. We were pleased that the modest permit fee increase accurately reflect the costs of administering the permit system. The fees are locked in for the HRBRRD three year budgetary cycle.
The pending repairs and updates to the Conklingville Dam, and the potential impacts, are very important to our community. The SPC supports the approach taken by the HRBRRD administration in securing state funding for the projects. The SPC has supported this approach at the state level, and will remain actively vigilant and represent the interests of permit holders and community stakeholders throughout the remainder of the planning process.
Fundraising remains our constant challenge. We were very pleased with the results of our two fund raisers this year, the inaugural SPC Golf Outing and our popular $10,000 grand prize “Bet on the Lake” Raffle. Both endeavors were spearheaded by our 100% volunteer board and supporters. We have no paid staff and all of the funds we raise are for our legal, lobbying and administrative expenses.
We were pleasantly surprised to receive an extremely generous bequeathment at the end of the year, which helped us to get back on track with our overall fundraising goals. Please consider the SPC when doing your estate planning.
How can you help?
Contributions are very important to our ability to keep the lobbyist and attorneys on board. Please consider making a donation by mailing a check to: SPC, P.O. Box 86, Mayfield NY 12117, or via PayPal through our website www.sacandagaprotectioncommittee.org.
January 7, 2019
2018 was an eventful year for the Great Sacandaga Lake and our communities.
The Sacandaga Protection Committee, our lobbyist, legal team, board members and volunteers all played significant roles in our continued success to protect the communities and permit holders all around the GSL. We cannot overstate that the threats and risks continue to exist, and will continue to challenge all of us.
By far, our highlight was lobbying Governor Cuomo to veto the bill targeting permit holders to be considered beneficiaries. This was bad legislation that was amended and passed in the very final hours of the 2018 legislative session. The fallout from this poorly conceived legislation went well beyond affecting just permit holders; it put all residents in Fulton County and the Towns of Edinburg, Day and Providence at risk of increased taxes and fees.
Our attorneys prepared an excellently crafted position paper and memo of opposition to the bill, pointing out the inconsistencies and flaws if the legislation was enacted, and our lobbyist hand delivered the same to the Governor’s office. This, in addition to countless phone calls and over 200 letters, were why this bill was vetoed! The community stood with the SPC and our voices were heard.
While we are ecstatic with this victory, we know challenges are ahead. We will be in Albany with our lobbyist meeting with legislators this spring, and will recommit our efforts to stay ahead of issues affecting the GSL.
As long as we have support, and can fund our lobbyist and attorneys, we will be ahead of these issues. As many have said, the SPC is the best and least expensive insurance everyone can have to protect our lake communities and property values.
Your help and support is essential to our continued success, and we are grateful for your support. All of your donations go to our legal team, lobbyist, outside accountant and financial administration and fund raising. Our board is 100% volunteer. A $200 donation pays for one hour of legal work, a small price to pay for your peace of mind. You may mail your contributions to SPC, P.O. Box 86, Mayfield, NY 12117, or use PayPal. Keep up with our posts on Facebook, www.facebook.com/lovethesacandaga/.
Joe Sullivan & Lou Stutzke, SPC Co-Chairs
December 8, 2018
New York State Governor Cuomo VETOED bill S7957A.
This is the bill that targeted permit holders and our local communities. It would have required the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD) to undertake a comprehensive study of Lake beneficiaries and property tax apportionments.
This is good news for everyone around the lake, especially permit holders and tax payers in the Towns of Mayfield, Broadalbin, Hadley, Edinburg and Day. Now we can work on a long term solution that recognizes that the true beneficiaries are identified and the costs of operating the District are funded correctly.
The SPC would like to thank all of the individuals who contacted the Governor's office to help defeat this bill, and to everyone who supports our efforts. According to our sources in addition to the 1000's of phone calls the Governor's office received over 200 letters. The letters were the most his office has received on an issue in his tenure.
We are making a difference!
We're a 100% volunteer organization, and we spend the money we raise with our attorneys and lobbyist. Great representation is not cheap, and we believe we get great value for our investment. Please help support us, you may mail your donations to SPC, P.O. Box 86, Mayfield NY 12117, or use the paypal link on our website, www.sacandagaprotectioncommittee.org.
Joe Sullivan and Lou Stutzke
November 27, 2018
The bill requiring the HRBRRD to undertake a comprehensive study of beneficiaries is now on Governor Cuomo's desk. Even if you've already called, please call again and ask the Governor to VETO this bill.
Please call the Governor's office at 518-474-8390 and ask him to veto bill S7957A, the bill requiring the Hudson River Black River Regulating District undertake a new beneficiaries study. The bill is flawed, and unjustly targets permit holders on the Great Sacandaga Lake and the people of Fulton and Saratoga counties.
Also, please click on link below to read article published in the Adirondack Explorer today.
October 25, 2018
The election is right around the corner, and we expect the bill requiring the HRBRRD undertake a beneficiaries study targeting upstream communities to come to the Governor's desk shortly. The bill requires the HRBRRD consider permit holders and upstream communities beneficiaries for the purpose of shifting costs form the downstream flood beneficiaries to permit holders and local tax payers. The bill is flawed, and should be vetoed. Here's what we're asking you to do: Please contact the Governor's office via telephone and ask the Governor to veto bill S7957A, the bill requiring the Hudson River Black River Regulating District undertake a new beneficiaries study. The bill is flawed, and unjustly targets permit holders on the Great Sacandaga Lake and the people of Fulton and Saratoga counties. The Governor's Phone # 1-518-474-8390 Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Thank you for your support!
Co-Chairs Sacandaga Protection Committee
October 11, 2018
Here are the winners of the drawing for the "$10,000 Bet on the Lake" Raffle:
$10,000 Linda Conpropst
$1,000 Bob Channel
$500 Jake Dewey
$100 Theo Horesco
$100 Rick Crandell
$100 Elaine Fitzpatrick
$100 Jim Mason
$100 James Keller
$100 Doug Sullivan
$100 Claudia Bylenok
$100 Maureen & Roger Lieb
$100 Diane Greco
$100 Bob Weisgerber
If you are a winner, congratulations! Please call the Fulton Montgomery Chamber at 518-725-0641 to make arrangements to get the MONEY!
The SPC thanks everyone that donated a prize, attended the Redneck Party, and bought a raffle ticket. We can't survive without your support, we are truly grateful for all our Volunteers and Supporters. And a Special thanks to Tracy and Bob for coordinating the event.
The Sacandaga Protection Committee still needs your help!
The bill (A.10070-A (McDonald) and S.7957-A (Marchione) targeting the permit holders and Towns around the Great Sacandaga Lake HAS NOT been signed by Governor Cuomo, and we still have time for you to ask him to veto it.
With your help we can get this bill stopped. Our phone calls were a very important step, now we need to let the Governor’s office know were not going away – we love our lake and our way of life – and don’t shift the costs of flood control from the true beneficiaries to our communities!
Please send a letter to the Governor. Tell him enough is enough, VETO this bill. I’ve included a sample letter below, feel free to use it or write your own – but now is the time to get this bill stopped.
Please help the SPC with our financial burdens. We’re a 100% volunteer organization, but we’ve have legal fees and a lobbyist to pay, along with a few administrative expenses.
Purchasing a ticket for our It’s All About the Lake raffle helps, maybe you’ll be the $10,000 winner! Tickets may be purchased by calling the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce at 518-725-0641, or in person at Fuel n Food Mayfield, Brownell Lumber in Edinburg, or Kingsboro Lumber in Gloversville.
Stay tuned for details on our Fall 2018 Redneck Cocktail Party, Thursday October 11 at Sport Island Pub.
Thank you for your help and support!
Co-Chairs Sacandaga Protection Committee
September , 2018
Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
New York State Capitol Building Albany, New York 12224
Re: Hudson River-Black River Regulating District Legislation
A.10070-A (McDonald) and S.7957-A (Marchione)
Dear Governor Cuomo:
I write to you as a resident of the Town of XXXXXX about legislation that will be coming to you for approval. The proposed legislation upsets the continuity of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District and threatens the economic well-being of our community. Over many years and after numerous rounds of lengthy and costly litigation, the District has been in peril. Now, yet again, another potential risk looms over the District: Senate Bill 7957-A. Senate Bill 7957-A will open old wounds and make the future uncertain for the District. To now change that would leave the future of the District uncertain yet again. The proposed legislation should be VETOED.
The Project consisting of the dam and reservoir completely aids downstream counties, who reap the flood prevention benefit provided by the Project. As such, the downstream beneficiaries are the ones who should continue paying for that protection. Moreover, this approach has been upheld by the Appellate Courts.
There is no reason to take a “fresh look” at the areas surrounding the Project. The District’s current methodology is a predictable, uniform, and even-handed approach that has been upheld by the courts, and that standard should remain unchanged.
The effect of the proposed legislation is serious. If signed into law, there is a significant possibility that our town could see significant increases in our property taxes. This would harm our entire community, as well negatively affecting property values and local economies.
There has finally been a sense of peace and continuity for the Lake after numerous legal battles. The legislation will bring uncertainty and invite certain litigation in the event the District’s assessment methodology is altered. The approach currently used should remain unchanged. We are tired of the legal battles. Please do not invite more by passing this law. VETO Senate Bill 7957-A.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
SPC Co-Chair, Joe Sullivan, addressed the HRBRRD Board meeting asking for the board's support in opposition to the beneficiaries study (7/10/18)
click link below to see video
Legislative Update - July 13, 2018
Our phone calls are making a difference, Albany is taking notice.
Now is the time to put this issue to bed. Our best option to avoid a long drawn out battle is to get the bill vetoed.
If you or your family members have not called, please do it as soon as possible. Let's take advantage of the momentum we have.
Please take a few minutes and call the Governor's office at 518-474-8390 and ask him to veto bill S7957A, the bill requiring the Hudson River Black River Regulating District undertake a new beneficiaries study. The bill is flawed, and unjustly targets permit holders on the Great Sacandaga Lake and the people of Fulton and Saratoga counties.
Text of SPC Statement to the HRBRRD Board 7/10/2018:
Good morning, and thank you for allowing us to state our opposition to the State’s idea to shift the burden of paying for the HRBRRD operations from the recipients of flood control onto the backs of permit holders and the surrounding communities.
I am Joe Sullivan, Co-Chair of the Sacandaga Protection Committee. I am here on behalf of permit holders, the SPC and our local communities.
The SPC was formed back when the state tried to take away the rights we enjoy as permit holders. As a community, the SPC raised well over $150,000 and hired lawyers to challenge the new rules. Through our collective voices, Albany heard us loud and clear. We all love our lake and its communities, and we challenged the unilateral and punitive rule changes.
We recognize the lake is unique, and we’re reasonable people who want to protect our interests and our way of life.
I’d like to make it perfectly clear that we understand this is an Albany initiative, and not coming from the HRBRRD administration or their board.
We wish to make our statement on the record today. We are opposed to being considered beneficiaries for financial purposes, and to ask you to consider fighting back against doing another study. It’s already been decided in state and federal courts that the District’s methodology for assessing and applying costs is fair and appropriate. A new study would be expensive and impractical, and in the end, a waste of money.
There are several legal precedents that support this view.
In the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp v. Hudson River Black River Regulating District lawsuit, the trial court found that the permit system is legal, no two permit properties are the same, permit holders receive no flood protection benefits, and the primary benefit permit holders receive is recreational.
The court upheld that the methodology used by the District to apportion costs is appropriate. Practically speaking, a new study, if undertaken, would undoubtedly be expensive, and would necessitate a permit by permit evaluation to ascertain what is an unquantifiable benefit. Doing another study would not only be inefficient, it would be impracticable.
As far back as the Districts lawsuit against the FJ&G Railroad the NYS Court of Appeals recognized that it is difficult, if not impossible, to appraise the benefits the lake offers in terms of cash. The court went on to observe that regulations of the waters was a public good that enhanced public health and safety.
Years later, the city of Albany sued the District. Again, the court found “the District concluded that flood protection of communities downstream from the Conklingville Dam constituted the most direct and clearly defined benefit — apart from headwater benefits — resulting from its operations.”
In the Albany case, the Court held that the District’s interpretation of applying costs to the 5 counties was reasonable and it should thus be upheld.”
Furthermore, the DEC has approved the current methodology the District has adopted for apportioning operating and maintenance costs among the five counties that are located downstream from the Dam.
The SPC’s positions is the District’s current methodology is a uniform and even-handed approach that should remain unchanged.
This legislation is nothing more than a not-so-thinly-veiled attempt to shift the financial burden from the true beneficiaries to our communities.
I will close by stating these points:
- Permit holders do not own lakefront property. Courts have held that we enjoy a recreational benefit, A recreational benefit was not contemplated in the statute, and may vary from year to year. Use of the permitted areas are limited by District regulations.
- Permits are revocable. Any benefit a permit holder realizes could be considered temporary.
- Courts have noted the administrative impossibility of appropriately assessing “recreational” benefits on a parcel by parcel basis, casting doubt on whether it would be appropriate to assess permit holders.
- Attempting to shift the methodology from flood control to other ill-defined benefits creates an administrative burden that will not only be impossible to manage, but it is sure to create inequities and spawn litigation.
- The existing methodology is permitted by the statute and has been upheld by the Appellate Division, Third Department. Moving forward in a new direction will open up the District to litigation as has been seen in the past, only on a much wider scale, given the number of properties that may be affected.
We are hopeful that our statement will give you pause to consider opposing taking the steps outlined in the bill and continue your work with the Governors office to find a better solution. We, along with our legal team will work against the undertaking of any study that considers upstream beneficiaries liable for the cost of the District’s operations beyond the cost of the permit system.
Please contact the Governor's office via telephone and ask the Governor to veto bill S7957A, the bill requiring the Hudson River Black River Regulating District undertake a new beneficiaries study. The bill is flawed, and unjustly targets permit holders on the Great Sacandaga Lake and the residence of Fulton and Saratoga counties.
Contact us by phone:
Office hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Sacandaga Protection Committee Call to Action
Rally at Bradt Building in Northville
July 10th, 9:00am
The next Hudson River Black River Regulating District Board of Directors' meeting is scheduled for JULY 10th at 10:00am at the Bradt Building in Northville. The SPC is holding a brief rally at the Bradt Building from 9:00am to 9:55am, and will issue a public statement concerning the Beneficiaries Legislation outside the building at 9:30am.
The SPC is asking as many people as possible attend the rally as a show of strength and unity. We believe we can send a strong statement to the HRBRRD, State Legislators and the Administration in Albany that we must be heard as the study is developed.
Please invite as many friends and neighbors as you can to the 9:00am Rally. It is not necessary to stay for the HRBRRD meeting, the SPC will be there and make our statement.
June 23, 2018
Sacandaga Protection Committee Legislative Alert
PROPOSED LEGISLATION COULD RESULT IN DRAMATIC INCREASE IN GSL PERMIT FEES AND ADDED COSTS TO COUNTY AND TOWN GOVERNMENTS
The NYS Legislature passed a bill requiring the Hudson River Black River Regulating District undertake a comprehensive study to determine the beneficiaries of the Great Sacandaga Lake to determine who should be paying for the operations of the District. Once again the state is trying to shift responsibility from the communities that receive the benefits of flood protection onto the backs of permit holders and our local communities.
The legislation - passed in the frantic rush at the end of the session - calls for all revenue sources to be examined. In the justification for the law, the sponsors specifically claim (albeit incorrectly) “The smallest source of revenue for the district comes from the Sacandaga Lake Access Permits.”.
The justification goes on to say “There is a long and complicated history regarding the apportionment of costs, however, it is time for the District to take a fresh look at the localities that are actually benefiting from their operations”.
Immediately upon notification of this legislation, Joe Sullivan, Co-Chair of the SPC reached out to John Hodgson, Interim Director of the HRBRRD to ask John for his thoughts. Amazingly, John knew nothing about this, and when the SPC reached out to members of the HRBRRD Board, they too were unaware.
The potential impact of this legislation harkens back to the proposed 10-fold permit fee increase 10 years ago. The revolt against the increase by community members and permit holders led to an outcry culminated by a public meeting in Northville that some estimated over 1,000 people attended. You may remember that the District, as a punishment for us not going meekly along with the proposal, proposed new draconian permit rules. It was the SPC and their legal team, along with the help of more than 2,000 donations from the community, that stopped the rules from taking effect.
The new law requires the District to present the list of all beneficiaries to Albany by January 2020. We do not belong on that list, and are at the beginning of an 18 month journey to make sure we’re not. The SPC is going to need your financial support to fund our legal efforts.
Downstream beneficiaries should pay for the benefit of flood control, and the permit holders and our local communities should not be subsidizing their benefits. If you believe in our cause, our way of life, that our taxes are already too high and we shouldn’t be considered beneficiaries of flood control, we need your help as much now as we needed it when we formed.
The SPC is the only organization representing the local community and permit holders that can take on this legal issue.
Please consider a donation of $200 or more to help us fund our anticipated legal costs. It’s a small price to pay to protect the value of your home and the way of life we all love.
Donations may be made through our How to Donate page on our website, or mailed to: SPC, P.O. Box 86, Mayfield, NY 12117.
Click on the link below to read the details of Bill S7957A and the "legislative justification":
Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lovethesacandaga
Welcome to the web site of the Sacandaga Protection Committee. Formed in 2009 in response to proposed changes to the 80 year old Sacandaga Lake permit system, the SPC's mission is to protect the environmental, economic and legal interests of the entire lake community. Although the permit system rule changes have been put on hold, the SPC continues to support the interests of the lake community. The SPC is active in several ongoing issues with potential impact to the lake community.
January 10, 2018
2017 was a great year for the lake and the SPC. The SPC continues to be successful in recommending board members for the HRBRRD, and can report there are now three permit holders on their board. The SPC continues to vet potential board members, and encourages the Governor’s office to make appointments of qualified individuals to fill all the vacant and expired board seats so the HRBRRD can do their work.
We are happy to report the legal issues facing the lake are quiet, but we are keeping our lobbyist and attorneys at the ready. We are committed to ensure the Great Sacandaga Lake stake holders are not caught off guard by any potential changes to the administration of the HRBRRD and the permit system.
We’re also continuing to monitor the HRBRRD assessments for the Hudson River and Black River areas, and the proposed law to eliminate the HRBRRD and put the operation of the lake and permit system under the control of the NYS Power Authority. This legislation has been dormant in the Assembly, but we know it could be brought out of committee at any time. We need to stay vigilant. You should consider the SPC as your personal “watch dog” whose primary purpose is to alert you to potential problems and actions that could cause you and your family great personal dissatisfaction if improper legislation and/or rules are passed not taking your interests into consideration.
Our constant challenge is funding our organization, and fundraising is hard work. It takes the effort of everyone on the board, plus a dedicated group of volunteers to pull it off each year. This year we had our 2nd successful raffle, and continued our traditional summer event and our autumn Redneck event at Sport Island Pub.
We rely 100% on the generosity of the permit holders, along with other lake users and community members. We have no paid staff, and the money we raise is used to keep our lobbyist, Bolton-St. John, on contract, and to pay our attorneys at Hodgson Russ for work they perform, administration and bookkeeping, and fundraising.
This year we’re asking again not only for your financial support, but to reach out to your friends and neighbors and invite them to make a donation, buy a raffle ticket or to attend one of our events. Donations for the SPC may be mailed to Fulton Montgomery Chamber of Commerce at 1 N. Main St, Gloversville NY 12078 or by Paypal through our website.
Feel free to find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lovethesacandaga and/or our website at www.sacandagaprotectioncommittee.org and share with your fellow GSL friends.
We are on duty 24/7/365 with our legal team ready to fight for you! Please support this effort with your donations and help!
Joe Sullivan, Co-Chair
Lou Stutzke Co-Chair
LATEST NEWS & EVENTS
Monday, June 4, 2018, David Smail, Co-chair of the Property Owners Association of Day, wrote:
According to Fulton County Sheriff's Department there was a boat accident on the Great Sacandaga Lake around 3:40pm on Saturday June 2nd, in front of Highland Avenue, Mayfield near Vandenburgh Point.
Several individuals saw or heard the crash and responded in their boats to assist the boaters. The responders were able to get the boaters to shore safely.
One boat was floating in the bay with several individuals on board, when a second boat towing a wake boarder, slammed into and ended up several feet onto the rear of first boat. The driver was watching the wake boarder and not observing the area in front of him.
There were four persons injured. Two were treated at the scene while the two others were transported to area hospitals. Both of the individuals who were transported were conscious and alert.
Members of the Sheriff's Office, the New York State Police, the Mayfield Fire Department and EMS, the Ambulance Service of Fulton County, Fire Coordinator Steve Santa Maria and Sheriff Giardino responded to the scene.
Alcohol was not involved in this accident. The Sheriff's Office will be issuing one or more tickets to the operator of the boat towing the wake boarder.
HRBRRD NEWS RELEASE
January 17, 2018
STATE'S RESERVOIRS PREVENT MAJOR HUDSON RIVER FLOODING
Great Sacandaga Lake and Indian Lake Reservoir Reduce Peak Hudson River Flow by 74%
The Great Sacandaga Lake and Indian Lake Reservoir provided 1.93 billion cubic feet of water storage on January 13, preventing the Hudson River from reaching flood stage from the Town of Hadley to Fort Edward. The State's two Hudson River regulating reservoirs stored more than 14.37 billion gallons of runoff on Saturday, reducing the peak Hudson River flow by approximately 26,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) Saturday morning.
Last week's rainfall and runoff from melting snow caused the Hudson River to reach a peak flow of about 9,500 cfs at Hadley and 13,000 cfs at Fort Edward on Saturday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The storage capacity of the Great Sacandaga Lake and Indian Lake Reservoir prevented the Hudson River at Fort Edward from reaching flood stage.
Without the combined storage capacity of the State's Hudson River regulating reservoirs, Hudson River flow would have peaked at more than 35,000 cfs at Corinth and 39,000 at Fort Edward. The reservoirs prevented the Hudson River from reaching a flood stage of 28.5 feet at Fort Edward, about 0.5 feet below major flood stage, on January 13. Operation of the Great Sacandaga Lake reduced the height of flood water by more than 4.5 feet, significantly reducing potential flood damage to buildings, roads and bridges in Hadley, Corinth, South Glens Falls, Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, and Fort Edward.
If Great Sacandaga Lake had not been constructed to retain a flood event like that which occurred on Saturday then flooding and inundation of roads in Northumberland, camps in Lake Luzerne, parts of Route 9N and cellars in homes in Corinth, first floors of structures along Old Bend Road in Moreau, and numerous roads and property in the Village of Fort Edward, would have occurred.
Redneck Cocktail Party Scheduled for October 8, 2017
The Sport Island Pub will once again host the Redneck Cocktail Party to benefit the SPC. This year's event will be held on Saturday October 8, 2016 from 4 to 8 pm. The event will start with "chowder fest" from 4:00 to 5:00 pm followed by a buffet dinner from 5:30 to 6:30 and a live auction from 6:45 to 7:45.
5th Annual Summer Fundraiser Scheduled for July 10, 2016
The Sacandaga Protection Committee will host the fifth annual Summer Fundraiser on Sunday July 10th at Lanzi's on the Lake. The SPC attorney from Hodgson Russ and government affairs consultant from Bolton St Johns will be in attendance to discuss current issues. Last year saw a crowd of nearly 200 permit holders and community members in attendance brining in over $15,000 to support the efforts of the Sacandaga Protection Committee. This year's fundraiser will again feature a silent auction with hamburgers, hot dogs and side salads hosted by Lanzi's.
HRBRRD Appoints New Executive Director - May 11, 2016
May 11, 2016 From the HRBRRD Website:
The Board of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District is pleased to announce the hiring of Robert J. Smullen as its next Executive Director effective May 19, 2016. Mr. Smullen served in the United States Marine Corps, rising to the rank of Colonel before his retirement in 2015. He served as an infantry officer on active duty, completing three combat tours in Afghanistan. A 1986 graduate of Gloversville High School, he also attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University. Colonel Smullen has been married for nineteen years and has four children.
The SPC welcomes Mr. Smullen to our community and the HRBRRD. We are looking forward to meeting with the new Executive Director this month, and forging an ongoing working relationship.
Winners Announced for the Sacandaga Protection Committee's $10,000 Raffle - October 8, 2016
GLOVERSVILLE, NY - The Sacandaga Protection Committee announced today the winners for its $10,000 raffle, proceeds of which will support the group's work in protecting the environmental, economic and legal interests of the entire Great Sacandaga Lake community. Joe Sullivan, President, SPC Board of Directors, said of the project, "This was our first raffle, and we are so pleased with its results. The project would not have been possible without the support of the ticket buyers, the businesses that sold tickets, Sport Island Pub, and the countless other volunteers who made it all happen."
There were a total of 286 tickets sold for the drawing which took place on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Winners are as follows:
Grand Prize: $10,000 - JOANNA OLSEN
2nd Prize: $2,500 - RON ROYAL, Wells
3rd Prize: $1,000 - DORIS JOHNSON, North Port, FL and Fish House
4th Prize: $500 - TODD PLEMENICK
Ten $100 winners - FRED BROWN, Alexandria, VA; BRENT ZIERAK, Amsterdam; JOHN G. WARD, Hadley; ANNE WOOD, Hadley; DAVE RUZBASAN, Rhinebeck, NY; JEN BROWNELL, Gloversville, JOSH BARNES, Delanson, BRANDON FERGUSON, Galway; PETER MURPHY, Hadley; EMPLOYEES OF SPORT ISLAND PUB, Northville.
Tickets were sold at Partner's Pub in Johnstown, Kingsboro Lumber in Gloversville, Mayfield Grill, Brownell Lumber and Captain Nauti's in the Town of Day, and the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, Gloversville.
As of Friday December 4th Richard Ferrara is serving as the Acting Executive Director of the HRBRRD. Mr. Ferrara has been the Chief Fiscal Officer and Treasurer of the HRBRRD since April 2005. The appointment of Mr. Ferrara as the Acting Executive Director comes as a result of Mike Clark resigning from the position.
There have been several news articles in recent months regarding Fulton County looking to develop a countywide water supply. Most recently an article appeared in the Daily Gazette on October 29, 2015 titled "Fulton County looks for ways to expand water supply". The SPC has been and will continue to monitor this county initiative for any potential impact on the lake community.
The Great Sacandaga Lake Business Association is once again sponsoring a cocktail party to benefit the Sacandaga Protection Committee. The fifth annual Redneck Cocktail Party will be held on Thursday October 22th the Sport Island Pub from 6 to 9 pm. The event will include a buffet hosted by the Sport Island Pub and both Live and Silent Auctions. Please join us on October 22th to support the SPC.
After six years and many thousands of legal dollars, The Sacandaga Protection Committee (SPC) emerged victorious when Senior U.S. District Judge Norman A. Mordue granted the Committee's motion for Summary Judgment against Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (d.b.a. National Grid). This is a major victory for the SPC and the entire lake community.
The Sacandaga Protection Committee held the fourth annual Summer Fundraiser on Sunday July 12 at Lanzi’s on the Lake. The SPC attorney from Hodgson Russ and government affairs consultant from Bolton St Johns were in attendance to discuss current issues.
2014 was another busy year for the Sacandaga Protection Committee; we continued to address several issues that seem to have carried over year after year, addressed a few new concerns, and continued our annual summertime and fall fundraisers. Click HERE for the January 2015 Update
Legislation was introduced in the New York State Assembly on May 14, 2014 (Bill A09650) that would abolish the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD) and transfer their responsibilities to the New York State Power Authority. The Sacandaga Protection Committee (SPC) opposes this legislation.
As we enter 2014 and our fifth year as an advocacy group, there is still much to be done! The Sacandaga Protection Committee (SPC) is a volunteer group of property owners/permit holders on the Great Sacandaga Lake who work to protect the environmental, economic, and legal interests of the lake community.
The National Grid case has been very active over the past six months and we expect this activity to continue through 2014. The attorneys are currently conducting in-depth depositions of many people - experts and other participants. The SPC attorney's actively participate in these depositions. For those who are not familiar with the National Grid case, the following is from our last newsletter and remains relevant:
Since the proposed rule changes of 2009, the makeup of the HRBRRD has changed dramatically. The entire seven-member board of directors has turned over with five new members appointed since 2009 and three empty seats waiting for appointments.
The issue of exclusive use of the permit area remains our highest priority. We understand that this is extremely important to all permit holders and without exclusive use, property values around the lake would fall dramatically. The SPC successfully convinced HRBRRD to reinstate the "Exclusive Use" terminology on the permit signs and yearly permit renewals. We continue to be engaged in active threats to exclusive use (i.e., Niagara Mohawk lawsuits) and monitor the activities of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and others who would potentially threaten exclusive use.
2009 - 2013
The Sacandaga Protection Committee hosted their second annual Summer Cocktail Party on Sunday June 30 at Lanzi’s on the Lake. The SPC attorney from Hodgson Russ and government affairs consultant from Bolton St Johns spoke to over 200 permit holders and community members in attendance. The fundraiser brought in over $18,000 to support the efforts of the Sacandaga Protection Committee. We thank the businesses around the lake who donated items for the silent auction and all those who purchased tickets and contributed to the event.
At their March 12, 2013 meeting the Hudson River Black River Regulating District Board passed a resolution approving a settlement with five downstream counties (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington) over flood control assessments.
A state Supreme Court Appellate panel ruled on May 10, 2012 that the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD) was justified in billing the downstream counties of Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Albany and Rennselaer for flood control. However, the Court ruled that in determining the total flood control bill the HRBRRD must first subtract the flood control benefit received by the State for it’s downstream property and infrastructure.
At the May 8, 2012 Board meeting of the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD) the Sacandaga Protection Committee’s (SPC) Attorney presented arguments to the Board in opposition of a proposed resolution that would allow modification of Beach Access Permits.
A draft of the long awaited Oak Ridge National Laboratory beneficiaries study for the Conklingville Dam has been posted on the HRBRRD's website. The report entitled "Draft Report Headwater Benefits Determination Hudson River Basin" presents the findings of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with respect to the benefit of stream flow regulation (i.e., the Sacandaga River) at downstream power producing facilities.
Accepting legal arguments raised by attorneys for the Sacandaga Protection Committee and the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision affirming a federal district court’s dismissal of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation’s challenge to the Great Sacandaga Lake Permit System.
Click here to download a PDF copy of our January 2012 mailing.
On December 2, 2011 attorneys for the Sacandaga Protection Committee (SPC) argued to preserve the Great Sacandaga Lake Permit System at oral argument before a three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.
Sacandaga Protection Committee asks State Court for permission to intervene in a dispute concerning regulating district assessments. Read more from the Daily Gazette (Sacandaga property owners' group fights utility's lawsuit, August 13, 2011) and the Recorder (Lake group gets involved in suit against district, August 12, 2011)
We have prepared an update of the various issues we continue to work on. The update may be downloaded here and will be distributed to the lake community via mail and email.
The Sacandaga Protection Committee has engaged the services of a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. to represent the Sacandaga Lake Community interests regarding the revenue issues that have prevented the Hudson River Black River Regulating District from paying their property taxes.
The Regulating District has started issuing permits for 2011. As anticipated, based on the Board's action last may, the permits once again include the Exclusive Use language that had been missing for the last few years. We are obviously pleased with the Board's decision to re-instate the Exclusive Use policy; however, we recognize that there is more work to be done with respect to enforcement of the current policy and establishing a permanent long-term solution to resolve this issue.
As winter approaches we would like to take an opportunity to provide you with an update from the Sacandaga Protection Committee. Through the generous support of the lake community we have raised over $250,000 since our organization was formed in 2009. We are a volunteer group and 100% of this money is used to protect the rights of the permit holders and lake community. Here are a few of the issues we are working on:
The issue of Exclusive Use is the number one priority of the SPC. We are working with the Governor’s office and the NYS Senate and Assembly to bring a legislative solution to this matter. Our lawyers and lobbyists are ready to continue negotiations with the new Governor and DEC Commissioner.
A dispute involving Exclusive Use of Beach Permit has recently drawn attention in the Broadalbin area. It is our understanding that this is a long standing dispute between several neighbors, all of them permit holders.
On September 30, 2010, United States District Judge Norman A. Mordue issued a decision dismissing National Grid’s latest attempt to avoid shouldering its share of the costs for maintaining Great Sacandaga Lake and the Conklingville Dam. In the suit, National Grid claimed that many of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District’s operations, including the GSL Permit System, were preempted by federal law and contrary to the United States Constitution.
Glen LaFave who has served as the Executive Director of the Hudson River Black River Regulating District since 2005 retired on this week. Mr. LaFave has been replaced by Michael Clark the Hudson River Area Administrator. Read the Leader-Herald story - River District Director Retires of August 20, 2010.
The School Districts of Broadalbin-Perth, Northville and Mayfield are preparing to sue Fulton County over unpaid taxes from the Hudson River Black River Regulating District. Typically, if school taxes on a property go unpaid the County would pay the taxes and foreclose on the property; however, since the property is owned by the HRBRRD, a state agency, foreclosure is not an option.
Read the Daily Gazette article of July 22, 2010 on this issue here.
Vice Chairwoman Pamela Beyor was replaced by Chaumont resident Thomas Stover at the HRBRRD Board meeting on July 13, 2010. Beyor's term had expired; however, she had been continuing to serve on the Board. A seat on the Board remains open as Governor Paterson has yet to name a replacement for Audrey Dunning who resigned in March.
Read the Amsterdam Recorder article of July 14, 2010 on this issue here.
The Sacandaga Protection Committee would like to thank all of the people that contacted their state senators, assemblymen and assemblywomen to express their position against the Breslin bill. The bill, if passed, would have eliminated the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District and placed the operation under the New York State Power Authority.
The five counties (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington and Warren) that were sent tax bills by the HRBRRD, in February for flood control, have filed a lawsuit against the District.
Following an extensive educational, legal and lobbying campaign, the Sacandaga Protection Committee succeeded in prompting the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District to restore exclusive use permits for the Great Sacandaga Lake permit system.
Officials in Capital Region counties said Thursday they will fight first-time ever bills they have received from the cash-strapped Hudson River-Black River Regulating District for the benefit of flood control. The regulating district sent the bills after it lost $4.5 million, about 80 percent, of its income when a federal court ruled last year it could no longer tax the operating costs of power plants located at its dams.
HRBRRD Stands Behind Re-instatement of Exclusive Use - January 19, 2011
THE SACANDAGA PROTECTION COMMITTEE WINS LAWSUIT IN FEDERAL COURT - September 2015
After six years and many thousands of legal dollars, The Sacandaga Protection Committee (SPC) emerged victorious when Senior U.S. District Judge Norman A. Mordue granted the Committee's motion for Summary Judgment against Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (d.b.a. National Grid). This is a major victory for the SPC and the entire lake community.
Despite the fact that the summer has come and gone, the threat to our way of life, unfortunately, has not.
The Sacandaga Lake Forest Preserve issue is on the radar of the Adirondack Council (an Adirondack Park environmental group). The following excerpts are from the Adirondack Council's "State of the Park 2009".
The State Office of the Comptroller sent notice to the Hudson River- Black River Regulating District Friday that it will not authorize a $2.6 million budget transfer necessary to help the district pay its school and county taxes, and affected officials don’t know where they will find the money to make up for the shortfall