State cuts trail maintenance aid

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors recently amended the county’s current county Highways and Facilities Department budget to reflect an $18,958 reduction in state aid for the county’s 2013-14 recreational trails program.

The resolution approved earlier this month at the County Office Building noted county legislation passed in 2012 authorized two-year agreements with certain snowmobile clubs for maintenance of county-operated state snowmobile trails.

But officials noted the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation reduced the amount of funding the county receives to administer snowmobile tails and maintenance-grooming service programs. The funding was reduced from $74,685 for 2012-13 to $55,727 for 2013-14.

Caroga Supervisor Ralph Ottuso asked what the reduction was for. He asked whether the state realizes the county and the local cubs rely on the funding.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said state officials are probably taking into account fewer people registering snowmobiles in New York state.

“Registrations are down everywhere throughout the state,” Stead said.

Ottuso said snowmobile clubs will now probably be asking for more money for trail maintenance.

Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan also noted there haven’t been large snowfalls the last few winters, and funding cutbacks could be weather-related.

“It stinks; it’s another cost shift,” he said.

Stead added, “Basically, it’s a reduction spread across those costs.”

In another highway issue discussed by the board, Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper said she’s been approached by town residents who want to know why certain areas along highways in the town weren’t mowed.

Mayfield Supervisor Rick Argotsinger, chairman of the Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee, said the county cut back from four mowers to two a year ago. He said the move saved funding on two positions. He said the plan has been to mow all county roads at least once during the summer and fall.

Stratford Supervisor Robert Johnson Jr. said grass not being cut on county highways in his town is not only a safety issue, but something else.

“It kind of makes our area look dumpy,” he said.

Johnson said weeds are “hanging out in the roads” sometimes in Stratford.

Stead reminded supervisors they can always put highway funding back into in the county’s 2014 budget, which hasn’t been adopted yet.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

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