John Mercier

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John Mercier last won the day on January 13

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About John Mercier

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    New Hampshire

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  1. What do you think?

    If the hypothetical cost X of the trail system is $7.5 million, and the projected registration sales are 50K, then you must price the registration at $150 per. If the higher price deters registration to let's say 40K, then they will need to raise the price to $187.50 per. If you keep/lower the cost to $100 per, then you must sell 75K registrations. If you fail to sell enough registrations to meet the $7.5 million, then you must cut costs to whatever you raised. So tell us what sections of the trail system that you want to get rid of to make revenue cover the costs.
  2. What do you think?

    The system cost X amount of dollars. That overall cost has to be divided among the number of registrations. They must either increase the registration to meet the cost of X or decrease the cost of X by scrapping sections of the system. The overall impact is actually minimum. People readily change from one format of recreation to another. It is the specific impact to a particular business that can be devastating as customers move from one format to another. Think of that as the ''Amazon Effect''. Sears controlled much of the retail catalog business in the US, but lost out when it failed to take into account he impact of the growing internet on-line sales format. I haven't seen a Sear's Christmas Wishbook in years. But the sales that are not generated by the Wishbook still exist, just in the other format. It happens across the breadth of the economy and is completely normal, but the individual impacts have strong effect on the individuals within that impact zone.
  3. Class 6 roads

    It is big new locally, but not the main issue to be dealt with. Trails are expensive. Money to fund them is limited. If a municipality is not willing to support access, it just allows the limited funding to flow toward municipalities that do support access. I remember sitting in a meeting on SB5, as the State of NH was seeking input from the various recreational groups on how to fund the park system. The Chief announced that only one group had excess funding. Everyone was looking around to guess who that was... I wasn't... I knew that it was OHRV. After the Chief told everyone, they all seemed stunned. We went on to address how to manage areas to meet the funding need... but many groups were less focused on funding, and more focused on improving their access. After the representatives of the NH Horse Council placed out that they wanted better parking at certain locations, the Chief explained that no money existed for that... that we were there to look for financing, not ways to spend what we didn't have. The President of the NH Mushers in an attempt to calm the situation suggested that the NHHC do what they did to improve a parking lot at a previous location. He didn't realize that what they had done is let the OHRVs pay for and make the improvements, then petition for their removal of access. One of the representatives looked at me, and then left the room crying. I hadn't made any unusual gestures, she just realized that I am not someone to forgive and forget. When asked about it, I explained that access was something we could afford to lose... money was not. The funding for that parking lot improvement was a costly enterprise. We had others like it. And I took the position that expenditures should occur where a municipality has shown its longstanding support. Trying to support a trail system that is too large and has to be battled for everyday is much too costly. I always felt it was more beneficial to the OHRV community to keep the cost of registration and management down.
  4. What do you think?

    Nothing. The OHRV opened and operated during the worst of the COVID. Governor Sununu has opened most commercial operations since then, and unless we see a huge surge in cases, I don't think he would reclose after the election... not even a chance that a Democrat Governor would do so without a surge. Biggest issue will be filling the budget gap and writing the budget for the next two years. The budget gap at the State level will be over $500 million for this budget, and if a winter surge in cases happened, an ongoing shortage of revenue in the next budget. I doubt Governor Sununu will lose, and I fully believe that he is preparing for a surge during the winter, as all of the ski resorts are working operational plans for such a contingency. The worst part about it is the first $500 million must be in place before June of next year... and it isn't structural... it is directly fiscal. I would be surprised if either party were willing to make the kind of direct cuts needed to cover that cost.
  5. Old days

    In those days, there were no ''trails''. Prior to changes around 2003, you could ride anywhere that was not signed against trespass. The change to positive signing for motorized access isn't even two decades old. In the early days, everyone had to trail blaze, and to keep navigation many times we would just place reflective markers on the trees at the end of a field to locate the connection. It wasn't until the late 70s, with the Bureau of OHRV that the modern trail system with state corridors and more consistent signage began to develop. At that time, with NH's less developed road/highway system, the groups consider snowmobiles a means of transportation - less a recreation and today's ''sport'' - and really sought to develop the trail system as a compliment to the road/highway system.
  6. What do you think?

    They aren't concerned with the registration monies that make up next year's GIA. He is speaking about the concern for the 30 percent match of funds. The GIA granted this last June for this season is already banked, but the match is dependent on the various clubs. A lack of registrations this year creates a deficit of GIA for granting next year in March, but a lack of club funds is mixture of memberships and fundraising. They are focusing on the fundraising of the clubs being curtailed... but that isn't just a situation inherent to snowmobile clubs, nor is it something that is equal among the clubs. See where Dan estimates that fundraising is $220,000 short... and sought $105,000 for the NHSA... but then asks for $574,622. That isn't money to the GIA to make up for registration losses, because we don't even have a sense what this season's registration numbers are yet.
  7. What do you think?

    The earmarked funds through the NRTP are allocated in January, before Covid, and finally granted by a Governor's signature in June (we did have a delay one year while AG Ayotee was seeking election - some mix up slowed the paperwork in the AG's office). The GIA is based on previous funding worked out in March/April and is also awarded around June through the same type of process. They are speaking about the club match... which isn't exactly accurate, since the club spends the money and is then reimbursed during ongoing operations up to the contracted grant amount. Some clubs are granted more than they use - probably a rarity among snowmobile clubs - other run dry of grant reimbursement and have to make a decision to expend without reimbursement - again probably a rarity. So the money is there for this year... but no one knows what next year will look like. The unrefunded State gas tax is returned to the motorized users at a rate of 100 gallons per registration, that number is only effected by the number of registrations. The R&M - which is now known as the Meals & Rental Tax - is how the State determines its level of total tourism expenditure. Doesn't go to finance the trail system, and is down heavily due to the shutdown. It goes to fund government operations and a transfer payment to local municipalities. Local municipalities will want the CARES money to cover that loss, or risk higher property taxes - or in cities with a tax cap the loss of PD and FD personnel, maybe others. It also works against the system that the largest inflows of M&R occur during the summer, then the fall, winter, and finally spring being the lowest. Since the plea will be for stabilization in the winter, the third lowest normal flow, and the largest recreational format contributing to winter M&R is alpine skiing - something the Governor is very familiar with - it will be a push to see if a Republican Governor and Democrat-majority Executive Council can come to an agreement on motorized trail recreation expenditures of this type. Not to mention, the paperwork that would need to be done by each club as a singular entity under the CARES act.
  8. What do you think?

    This winter's funding is not really in question. Other than management issues at the NHSA, the NRTP contracts have already been signed for this winter last June; any club that is well managed should have already set aside the matching funds for any GIA that they will use this fall for the most part... with the GIA contracts already signed last June. Over more than the last decade of the Chief managing the BoT budget, we have seen total registrations stagnate and decline, that number also effect the amount of NRTP that NH may be entitled to, and he has had to manage that decline with the understanding that only registration increases are going to be the source of improved funding. So he tries to run a very tight ship in a demanding revenue environment, but has done so for a very long time even before COVID. F&G has three general expenditure categories - resource management, enforcement, and SAR. SAR, though most often in the media outlet, was recovering during the last annual budget audit... and I expect that it still is... due to changes made a few years ago. The HikeSafe program and changes in reimbursement procedure really gave the SAR a shot in arm on the revenue side... and they hope that it will flatten the curve on the demand side. Resource management is basically about hunting and fishing, and always an ongoing issue with the changes in the general public's attitude about both. We are under the enforcement category, really other than fines, that category with the decline in the four majors that represent funding - hunting, fishing, snowmobiles, and OHRV - really really relies on increases in the license and registration fees that we cycle through about ever ten years. It was pretty common for the Legislature to take up hunting/fishing licenses one cycle, and then about five years later, take up snowmobile/OHRV registrations and balance out the enforcement budget expenses across the four majors. So it really is more of a question of the NRTP in January... what does that look like? Does the State need to retain it for DoT to balance their budget? Will we stay on the ten year cycle (snowmobiles are actually off the cycle with the "double bump")? So on and so on. I think a lot of squawking is done by the general membership, and even a lot of the officers, in the various clubs on what they want to see/do; but very little is focused on the longer term funding and interactions with the landowners. That is left to just a few people to take care of and try to smooth it all out. So this year should be safe... other than what Mother Nature does to the snowcover; but next year is full of questions for all of the motorized trail usage.
  9. Storm Last Night

    I thin the resources are OK for this year... my concern would be for the spending of next season. Plenty of time, but it has to be worked out with too many variables to really focus a plan.
  10. Grass Drags Cancelled

    June hasn't been audited, so we only really have results up until the end of May...
  11. Grass Drags Cancelled

    I presume the same way that we are dealing with it in the Lakes Region. Take-out and outside dining, along with limited occupancy for buildings that have restricted capacity due to social distancing. Small groups in cabins or motel rooms accessing directly outside probably will do OK, enclosed hotels don't seem to be doing as well. I think the public support dropping off would be about nuisance-to-benefit ratio, that has been the case for decades, so the economic benefit really just allows the community some slack for those riders that make themselves a nuisance.
  12. Grass Drags Cancelled

    I moved the Association away from the NHSA model near its beginning, so it doesn't carry the overhead of a physical office or Executive Director and staff. I also moved it away from a professional lobbyist, though I believe that the current officers have moved it back in that direction. When you remove those carry costs, and focus on a smaller higher-use trail system... it lowers the overall cost of the system. Campgrounds are also less overhead for the operators, especially in a Covid economy where indoor space costs a premium beyond the normal limited occupancy. The adaptation for winter use will take time and money.
  13. When do 2019-2020 registration number come out?

    We've seen some... but most are concerned with width factor and then complain to me about the limited miles. More miles cost more money.
  14. When do 2019-2020 registration number come out?

    They may. But with the State budget being upended, the expectation is that the study committee will not find a subsidy and the second bump in registrations will need to be activated. I think we may also see NRTP transfer from the NH DOT to be a question in the process. So I would guess the option of an early registration at a lower cost may be something that the study committee would be recommending. It probably won't change this year's increase, but could be used as an incentive the second bump to get registrations to start early.
  15. Quarrentine Check in

    So you intend to boycott Sununu and support Feltes? Good luck with that one.