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jhwentworth

What do you think?

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Do you think that people will join clubs and register sleds before January? There's always been a group of "wait until there's a lot of snow on the ground" people, and I expect they're still here, but are they now a majority?

Edited by jhwentworth

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I personally think people will not join clubs or register their sleds until the last minute because of the virus unless things get better. Some people are hurting financially and some think the establishment is taking away their rights. I hope I am wrong. I will join clubs in NH , Maine & Canada. I will register in NH & Maine. My question will be, will they let us register and ride in Canada. You get almost a $50.00 discount if you register in Quebec early in December. Pray for peace and Cold & SNOW. 

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Sadly I think they will be the majority, especially with the price hike.

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I have plans to join a club this week. thought about it this morning when I changed the calendar over to September. 

Hopefully, it will be business as usual for me this year, some riding in NH and maybe Maine. I have been lucky, able to work from my home office since March, and stayed healthy, so the virus has not affected me as much as it has for lots of other people. 

 

Farmer's Almanac says we will have a cold snowy winter, lets hope they have a clue...

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4 hours ago, Sled Dave said:

. My question will be, will they let us register and ride in Canada. You get almost a $50.00 discount if you register in Quebec early in December. Pray for peace and Cold & SNOW. 

That's a great question, that I don't believe can be answered now. Canada has locked down their border to non-essential travel from the US, and don't seem in any hurry to re-open with the US still having large numbers of new cases of the virus. Will 3-4 months make a significant difference? Two unanswerable questions: Will there be plenty of snow this winter? Will the coronavirus be under control?

My brother-in-law, who lives in Arizona, rode his motorcycle to New Hampshire to visit relatives in NH and Maine. While he was in northern Maine last week he thought he would visit Canada, but was turned away at the border.

In NH, the increased registration fees may have an impact, but snow and the virus will be more significant. It would be interesting to listen to the planning meetings at BoT and F&G when they consider what to do if there's minimal sled registration money. The growth in ATV will help, but is it enough to fund through the winter? A rescue from the general fund is unlikely.

Edited by jhwentworth

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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.

 

 

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Thanks for the reply John. Are you saying that the BoT has access to funds from previous years that would allow them to reimburse the clubs for trail maintenance and grooming in 2020-2021? My understanding is that the OHRV (ATV) and sled registration fees were earmarked for their respective interest groups, and funds from other state sources were not available. Is this wrong?

From InDepthNH.org August 26, 2020

The Legislative Advisory Board  also heard from leaders of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association and from Chris Gamache, director of the state Bureau of Trails. Gamache, who is the chief supervisor of the Bureau of Trails, said snowmobilers buy a decal from state Fish and Game annually for a license and a majority of that funding is returned to the clubs in the form of grants for trails and grooming. About $1.5 million is spent annually and clubs provide a 30 percent match of funds. That will not be able to be achieved because of a lack of fundraising opportunity due to COVID-19, he explained. He said it could have an impact on rooms and meals, the gas tax, and other state revenues if the interconnected trail system is not in working order. All clubs are required to pay for their groomer insurance and then about $150,000 is spent statewide on groomer vehicle and maintenance and $150,000 in prepaid diesel contracts. Dan Gould, executive director of the NHSA, asked for $574,622 from the CARES Act, noting that the traditional fundraising loss currently is $220,000 but that will likely go up before the snow flies. NHSA has put in for $105,000 from other federal programs strictly for the association and not for the clubs. He said more than 100 clubs that manage the trails are truly “in a bind.”

Edited by jhwentworth

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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. 

 

 

 

 

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John, I'm referring to this statement from Chris Gamache: "snowmobilers buy a decal from state Fish and Game annually for a license and a majority of that funding is returned to the clubs in the form of grants for trails and grooming. About $1.5 million is spent annually and clubs provide a 30 percent match of funds. 

If that 2020-2021 registration money is reduced or missing, who makes it up? Please focus on that question. Who makes up for the missing registration money? I'm not talking about NRTP gas tax money. Does current registration money pay for current "grants and grooming"?

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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.

 

 

 

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ICG    5

Unfortunately, I sadly have to agree with Steve . . . It's been a bad year for all to many businesses and activities . . 

 

Event closures, mandatory self quarantine, border closures, business down turns etc..  . 

 

None of it is a positive indicator for the clubs and business associated with snowmobiling.

 

And that's optimistic . .  .  What will a democratic administration do to further upset the balance . . . .

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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.

 

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I have always registered my sleds early. Never again, if ever in the State of New Hampshire. People are focusing only on the cost of the Registration, not the over all impact of the increase.

1 - The revenue from the increase will either be a little higher or the same no great increase.

2 - The effects on the economy. There will be fewer sleds registered in NH, which means less people. Less people, means less money spent thru the local economies, which  will have an adverse effect.

3 - it is what I call "The Harley Davidson Effect" More cost to service fewer people. Sleds are expensive, gear is expensive, Registrations are expensive, lets go elsewhere.

4 - I live in the Southern part of the state, where clubs are struggling. I can travel to the White Mountains, 2.5 hours, and pay $125 to register my sled. or,go to Maine, better and more trails for $100, same travel time. Which would you do? And dont forget,the same goes for MA people Also.

 

 

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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.

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ICG    5

Some one must have skipped Economics 101 . . . Supply and Demand. . .  

Rising prices always have an effect on demand.

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Because we live where we do, we will register. IF, we lived where we use to, maybe not as the snow is less and travel would be involved. We have ridden every trail up in the Pittsburg/Errol area so to register and have to travel to ride same trails, maybe not. IF we still lived down south might consider registering in another state because of having to travel. 3 hours traveling puts you into any good riding northern direction.

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On top of all  the other costs, the extra $25 really isn't going to make much difference. Since I live 100 miles south of Concord, day trips to Maine are pretty much out of the question distance wise, but I can get as far as Baker River Valley, and some good riding easy enough. I will burn about $25 worth of gas just getting to Concord on the first trip. 

Just need snow, and to be welcome to come, depending on the Covid restrictions that may be in place come winter, which none of us can even begin to predict. 

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21 hours ago, ICG said:

Some one must have skipped Economics 101 . . . Supply and Demand. . .  

Rising prices always have an effect on demand.

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.

 

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