New snomo trail pass
Legislators are floating a proposal that would establish an annual state trail pass for Wisconsin snowmobile owners, a change that could generate more than $5 million in additional revenue for trail maintenance.
Assembly Bill 407 would require the purchase of an annual sticker for $34.25, though the fee drops to $14.25 if the sled owner belongs to a snowmobile club. Either way, the legislation will increase the amount of money sledders are paying toward trail maintenance.
It also holds some promise for helping clubs recruit new volunteers for trail upkeep, fund-raising, easement solicitation and all the other work these clubs perform. Becoming a snowmobile club member ensures that your $20 stays local and is used by the club of your choice.
The bill is backed by the Governor’s Council on Snowmobile Recreation and the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs, the first time the two groups have agreed to back the same revenue enhancing system.
As much as we dislike new taxes and taxes that are cloaked behind the general title of a user fee, Wisconsin’s snowmobile trail system needs a financial boost to keep it competitive with neighboring states.
The Department of Natural Resources says there has been a funding shortfall over the past decade, as snowfall amounts have varied widely. Officials predict that in fiscal year 2014, without the new state trail sticker, there will be no funds available for grant projects involving new trails and bridge work.
Current funding comes from registration fees for snowmobiles ($30 every two years), a portion of the gas tax formula and sticker revenue from out-of-state riders who own sleds that are registered in another state. Out-of-state riders will pay $10 more under the proposal, or $44.25, for an annual sticker.
The beauty of Assembly Bill 407 is that once again, none of Wisconsin’s general purpose tax revenues will go toward snowmobile trail maintenance. The revenue will come from snowmobile owners, the very people who benefit from the well-designed, well-groomed trail systems we have here.
Live nativity illustrates
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eagle River and St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Phelps staged a live nativity last weekend for the 11th straight year, re-enacting the birth of Jesus Christ with music and Bible narration.
Despite frigid weather and subzero wind chills, the churches and those who volunteered brought to life the incredible story of that first Christmas — a story of hope and promise that changes lives every day.
We thank those hardy volunteers for putting their efforts where they count, reminding everyone of the true source of Christmas joy and the reason for this annual celebration across the globe.
The birth of a child, a savior, the Christ child, has always been and continues to be the reason for the season.
Behind the editorial ‘we’
Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
|Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:11 AM|