Jo Mary Riders Monthly MSA Report – January 2014

Here we are again at the start of another season. Got our first real storm on December 15th with a foot of snow. I pray that we don’t have a repeat of last years heavy wet snow that brought down literally thousands of trees. That’s NOT the way to start off the season.

I’ll start by going back seven months to a bill that Rep. Steve Stanley from Medway sponsored for me. LD 1263 was a bill that would have raised  the resident registration fee, the non-resident 3 day and season registration fee. It would have established a 7 day non resident registration and it would have eliminated the sales tax on fuel for groomers.

After much debate, the IF&W committee passed it, the full House of Representatives passed it, the Senate passed it and then the Governor vetoed it. In his veto letter the Governor said that he was tempted to let it become law without his signature because he had heard from so many snowmobilers and clubs who were in favor of the bill. BUT, because the legislature increased the sales tax he felt that he could not add the extra  financial burden on snowmobilers by approving the bill.

So, it went back to the House where they overrode his veto. I was ecstatic. But not for long. The senate failed to override the veto and the vote was strictly along party lines. Even the senators whose constituents live in the major snow belts of Maine voted against it. Nice to know that politics is more important to them than adding financial assistance to the struggling snowmobile industry. So the bill was dead in the water.

Even if it had passed, snowmobile clubs would not have experienced any increase in funding until the 2014/2015 season. No bill was allowed into the second session of the legislature so our next hope of any new funding will be during the 2016/2017 season. Great.

Move forward to this past July.

As a result of spending way more money that we took in last season (full accounting available on the Jo Mary Riders website under the heading, “Trail Grooming Costs not covered by Public Funding“) we decided to sell our newest groomer, the 2006 Prinoth BR350. The Greenville “Moosehead Riders” club purchased the machine and with help from the Capital Equipment Grant fund, we purchased a 1999 Bombardier BR275 that actually had fewer hours on it than the 350!

So we greatly reduced our debt service. We still have three groomers and now they’re all the same. Makes spare parts inventory a whole lot easier. (And all three machines are Yellow !! Yee Haw) We also purchased a “rebuilt” Mogul Master 10-18 11 blade drag. All three drags are now the same.

snowmobile trail groomers in new storage barn

Groomer Barn Complete with Groomers and Snow

In October we finally started construction of a 3 bay groomer storage barn. We’ve had some of the building materials for two years but never found the time to start the project. The building was completed in early November and I parked all three groomers inside before I headed out on vacation on November 20. It’s great to have a place to park the machines out of the elements during the spring, summer and fall.

We still have the original groomer “garage” to work on a snowcat during the winter….the barn is basically just for storage. Many thanks to Jim Catell, Phil Grass, Dick Harmon, Bion Tolman and Dave Silvia for the effort put into getting the place built.

On December 14th, club members Steve Amari, Dave Perrotti and myself put out a couple of new trail map “Kiosks”, one at the intersection of the 109 and ITS 86 and another at the 111 and B Pond intersection. These will allow us to have  maps with the “you are here” designations on them  to help the “confused” riders.

Steve and Dave built two more free standing kiosks and three tree mounted units for placement elsewhere on the trails. We will have them out before the season starts. Many thanks to both of them for the time and effort put into building and delivering the kiosks.

When we got home from putting out the first two kiosks (and doing other trail maintenance work) I had an email waiting for me from a past member who was trying to decide whether or not to rejoin the club again. Seems that he was really offended by a comment that I had made about our legislators and their “Tea party” mentality about “no new taxes”. In his email he went on about the history of the Tea Party and what they stood for and on and on. Then he talked about what a great club we were and how “unbelievable” the trails were and that he wanted to rejoin our “wonderful” organization but low and behold, his dues were on hold until I posted a retraction about the Tea Party.

Guess what, after spending  a full day out working on the trails in sub zero temperatures the last thing I wanted to read was some crap about how I offended someone with a no new taxes statement. That Tea Party attitude prevented our industry from getting any new funding.

It’s not a tax. A registration fee increase is an increase in a user fee. Period.

So the guy who loves our club, our trails and our organization can keep his friggin dues and we will still provide him with a quality riding experience. Just like all the others who ride our trails and never even consider joining or donating to our efforts. That’s just the way it is.

Until club membership becomes mandatory (like in NH and Vermont) we will keep plugging away and doing what we have always done — putting trail riding and maintenance at the top of our list.

Thanks to all of you who continue to support our little club and even greater thanks to those who have made substantial  financial donations that help pay for all of our efforts. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Let’s have a great snowmobiling season!

Ride Right and Ride SAFE

Rick LeVasseur

This entry was posted in Club News, News, Snowmobile Issues, Snowmobile Trails, Trail Funding Issues, Trail Info, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.