In a rare occurrence, snowmobile groups across New York, including a statewide organization, have expressed their support for Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposal to increase the snowmobile registration fee. The proposal has been included in the 2023-24 state budget plan.
Currently, individuals who are not members of a snowmobile club pay $100 to register their snowmobile, with $90 of that fee going to the state’s Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. Club members pay $45, with $35 being allocated to the same fund. If the proposal is approved, the maintenance fund portion of the fee will increase from $90 to $125 for non-club members and from $35 to $55 for club members. As a result, the total cost of registering a snowmobile will increase from $100 to $135 for non-club members and from $45 to $65 for club members.
Jennifer Senf, the executive director of the New York State Snowmobile Association, said that this would be the first registration fee increase in 15 years. The revenue generated from the fees is used to maintain the state’s 10,400 miles of snowmobile trails, which are maintained by over 220 snowmobile clubs in New York.
According to Senf, an estimated 100,000 people register their snowmobiles every year, which could generate an additional $2 million for trail maintenance if the fee increase is approved. Snowmobile groups and clubs also support the fee hike as it will provide them with the necessary funds to maintain the trails, which is an all-volunteer effort.
Chris Lukins, the vice president of the Weedsport Winter Wanderers in Cayuga County, said, “With this increase, it is going to bring more money into that state trail fund to offset the cost to snowmobile clubs of creating and maintaining these trails.”
In a memo detailing the proposal, the state Division of Budget writes that the additional revenue generated from the increased fee “will directly support the improvement and maintenance of the New York snowmobile trails.” This ensures that the funds will be used for their intended purpose and not redirected to the state’s general fund.
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