TUPPER LAKE - The town board here is close to making a decison on the purchase of a used groomer to maintain snowmobile trails.
The request for the groomer went out to bid in August. During last Friday's board meeting, three sealed bids were opened, containing machines of various ages ranging in price from $59,850 to $123,850, plus shipping costs.
"They all have basically the same components; it's just the years are different," town Supervisor Roger Amell said as he reviewed the bids.
Before the board could vote on a machine, Councilman John Quinn questioned whether the town can afford the purchase.
"Can we afford that when we're quibbling over whether we can include $4,500 for a mower for the cross-country (ski) trails?" Quinn asked.
After some discussion, the board unanimously agreed to table the purchase and make a decision during this Friday's budget meeting.
The decision to seek bids for a new groomer came in August when Pete Edwards, trail coordinator with the Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club, told the board that improved equipment could make the club eligible for grants from the New York State Snowmobile Association. Edwards said the club's current groomer needs repairs and can't handle the area's 30 miles of trails.
The grants are distributed as a reimbursement to snowmobile clubs statewide to help cover costs associated with trail creation and maintenance. They would relieve that burden from the town and the Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club, which now shares those costs.
In June, the Tupper Lake Snowmobile Club submitted a funding application to the NYSSA and is expecting an answer sometime this fall.
Grant money from the NYSSA is derived from snowmobile registration fees and is disbursed to snowmobile clubs across the state to help pay for the creation and maintenance of local snowmobile trails. Eligible clubs must have networks of well-maintained trails, complete with signage.
"I understand the importance of the snowmobiling industry for the hotel owners, who are starving in the winter," Edwards told the board. "We've built a lot of new trails. We want to turn Tupper Lake into a snowmobile capital, sort of like Old Forge. In order to do that, we need better equipment."
Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.