QUEENSBURY -- Warren County supervisors received good budget news late last week - money to partially fund the county's police boat patrol program will be included in the state's 2011 budget.
County officials had learned in early February that Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget would scrap a reimbursement program that provided the county with funding for 50 percent of the costs of the Sheriff's Office boat patrol, the majority of that effort going toward summer patrols on Lake George.
Sheriff Bud York told supervisors on Monday that the New York State Sheriff's Association notified him Friday that the money had been restored to the budget and would be available this year.
County officials had concerns about whether they would be able to continue the program without the state reimbursement.
The patrols had been on the chopping block during budget negotiations in 2009, a year when the state reimbursement rate was cut from 75 percent to 50 percent.
But the retirement that year of the Sheriff's Office's chief deputy freed up money the county used instead for a scaled-back boat patrol.
The boat patrol cost $62,500 last year. The Sheriff's Office historically has provided the only full-time police boat presence on Lake George, with peace officers from the Lake George Park Commission also responding to calls. The state Department of Environmental Conservation and State Police occasionally put police boats on Lake George, as well.
Queensbury at-Large Supervisor William VanNess, chairman of the Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee, said he was optimistic supervisors would continue to fund the program for 2011 in light of the state's decision to provide 50 percent reimbursement this year.
A lake as busy as Lake George in the summer needs police protection, said VanNess, a former sheriff's officer who has worked on the Park Commission's boat patrol.
"There may be some questions again from some of the supervisors, but in a county that relies on tourism, we need that protection on the lake," VanNess said.
The boat patrol on Lake George typically operates between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend. The Sheriff's Office also maintains a patrol boat on Schroon Lake, with some of those costs picked up by the town of Schroon.