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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, this is a continuation of the letter from Newmans post regarding the trail permit fund info. Not sure why they didnt post the whole letter, but it's down below.

As I mentioned in the other thread,
http://www.hardcoresledder.com/forums/inde...howtopic=291345
I have already voiced my opinon on this to Bill Manson....he chuckled and said..."well it's gonna happen".

That conversation happened back in the beginning of December during the grooming delay fopaw.

Interesting to see Bill Mansons writing at the MSA site:

Take Note!

MSA continues to work on your behalf, and will keep you informed regarding future legislation. We are working to increase trail funding, and this will mean an increase in sled registration and trail permit costs. We will keep you informed. Please realize these increases are necessary to keep the top-notch trail system we have. If we don’t find a way to increase funding for the snowmobile program, services will decrease. In 2008, MSA will be working on furthering both the concept of permanent trails and legislation for a two-tier registration system.

I find it very disingenuous on Mansons part to say the above after speaking the way he did in the below article. Further, I dont believe he truly has the best interests of the Snowmobilers or the small northern Michigan communities that rely on snowmobile tourism to survive. Specifically the areas highlighted caught my attention. Personally, I think this guy needs to find greener pastures. It puzzles me how he can post the above article with the knowledge that the DNR takes 2.3 million dollars of our trail permit funds for administrative costs, and most recently, the 10 million dollar surplus the DNR fund has in it. How much carryover should our fund have had the last few marginal winters??? I dont buy the line about worn out groomers either. If I had my way, they would all be running ONE MAKE AND MODEL groomer, as the primary's, and the swampy areas needing lighter machines would have the smaller units as extra's for use when necessary. I have it on good authority that the New Holland Units and the John Deere Units are far better than the piston bulley's and the like in performance, longevity, and resale, and they arent as expensive initially. I've heard about the lug issues w/newholland, and there's probably john deere issues as well, but from what I understand, those issues are due to operator neglect, and failure to read and heed preliminary breakin procedures.

I am getting the idea that a FOIA needs to be filed at MSA as well, because Mansons position smacks of facilitating the gougefest we, the outdoors enthusiasts have had to deal with recently.

Read below and you be the judge. If you agree with him, happy days are here for you. If you dont, write your state representative a letter indicating your protest of Mansons efforts to increase the cost of snowmobile trail permits. Also point out the fact that under Michigan Law, a snowmobile must be registered to operate it off of lands owned by the registered owner, and a percentage of that registration fee ALREADY goes to the snowmobile trail fund, along with tax from the gasoline you purchase all year long, that you dont feel a snowmobile trail permit should be required to operate ANYWHERE in Michigan, your property included, since you already contribute to the fund TWICE, before a permit is even purchased. Point out that it's not appropriate for persons riding a snowmobile to be compelled to purchase a trail permit if they are not snowmobiling on groomed trails, and if the trail permit fee is to be increased, then the trail permit requirement as prescribed by law should be re-written to state a permit shall only be required if operating on a groomed snowmobile trail, as it was when the trail permit program was when it was first implemented. Personally, I think it should change period, but if Manson wants another 10 dollars, then he should only get it from those who want to use his trails. His attitude stands to drive all but the wealthy right out of the sport. If the increase does go through, my MSA membership will expire, I wont give them another dime, EVER.

Snowmobile permit fees set to climb

http://www.mlive.com/outdoors/grpress/inde....xml&coll=6
12/21/07 By Howard Meyerson Press Outdoors Editor [email protected]

Trail fees need to increase if Michigan's snowmobile trail network is to stay in good shape, according to the state snowmobile advisory committee, which endorsed a proposal to raise the price of the annual snowmobile trail stickers in 2008.

The proposal calls for increasing the $25 fee to $35 for those who buy them by Nov. 15 and $50 afterward.

"We have to have an increase for next year," said Bill Manson, the chairman for the Michigan Snowmobile Advisory Committee and the executive director for the Michigan Snowmobile Association. "In the past, we've purchased 15 to 20 new groomers a year. This year we bought only seven."

The problem, he said, is that trail groomers wear out. They have a two to six year life span. The current fee structure doesn't allow for the replacements that are needed.

The proposed fees would generate $2 million to $3 million more for the grooming program which relies on 69 local clubs around the state to do the work. There are 95 tractor groomers in the field, according to Manson. Each costs well over $100,000 to replace. The costs to run and maintain them have also steadily increased with the cost of fuel.

Trail permit fees go to the state snowmobile fund which is used to operate the program. Manson believes the two-tier approach creates an incentive to buy early and avoids a cash-crunch on warmer years where riders hedge their bet by holding off on buying permits.

DNR officials were non-committal about the proposal.

Steve Kubisiak, a DNR staff assistant to SAC, said he was surprised by the a two-tier fee structure. He said staff worked with the committee on fact-finding this past year, but had not seen the specifics.

"It's premature to say whether we support it until we look at the numbers," Kubisiak said. "I anticipate a meeting of the minds. We want a program that is sustainable and meets the needs of the public. But I can't tell you yet if there is a need to double the fee."

Manson said SAC the MSA both endorsed the increase. He and others have approached the legislature, looking for a sponsor for the increase, but Manson declined to say who had been approached.

The next move, he said, is to gain support from the snowmobile community. He expects "hardcore" riders will support the fee without a fuss. He suspects others may grouse a bit.

"No doubt there will be a group that protests," Manson said. "But they also protest when they get bumpy trails."

Michigan's 6,500 mile snowmobile trail network draws riders from all over the midwest, though there are many other trails to ride. Manson said that is because of its quality.

If the trail fee increase fails, the grooming program would have to be scaled back to fit the budget, according to Manson.

"If it doesn't fly or we get a rebellion by members or non-members who are dead set against it, the answer will be that instead of trails being groomed all the time, we will go back to scheduled grooming where they get groomed no more than a set number of times," Manson said."


Ladies and Gentlemen, I can only reflect on the marginal winters we have had, the limited opportunities there have been over the last few years to even go snowmobiling. Our true seasons have been lucky to last 4 consecutive weeks, and in all but a few select areas they have not lasted much over 6 weeks a year. Some areas had NO SNOW all winter. And dont forget, there is a rule that says there must be x amount of snow or the trails are closed. My conclusion on this is we dont need to purchase all of these groomers, this is window dresssing to get more money for other reasons. Even if they outfitted the whole state with brand new groomers, with the money they take in, and the limited season durations, it should have already been done, and maintained properly, groomers operated for two months a year should darn well last at least 10 or 15 years.

Like Turbomax said on the other thread about the oil companies.....WERE DUMB ENOUGH TO PAY IT! Are we?
 

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His attitude stands to drive all but the wealthy right out of the sport. If the increase does go through, my MSA membership will expire, I wont give them another dime, EVER.

I agree.
 

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One question I have is, why is the groomer life span of only 2-6 years ?

I don't see the local farmers replacing their tractors every 2-6 years....and I'm sure most of them work them alot harder than they do in grooming. I'm not knocking the grooming efforts....just the clowns thinking they need new equipment.
 

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Sounds like a golden business opportunity, open a shop that rebuilds/refurbishes old groomers. Heck if they are willing to pay $100,000-$125,000 every two years for a new groomer someone should be able to rebuild one for $50,000-$75,000. Heck, if they rebuild one groomer from every club (69 clubs) every two years they would only spend (23 groomers @$50,000) $575,000, that equals 5 new groomers by todays method.

I have posted before that Bill Manson just doesn't get it anymore. He should not be allowed to be the mouthpiece for the MSA. The new leadership should step in and say enough is enough.

One way to offset the permit increase is to just stop being a member of the MSA, makes it about a wash.
 

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Sounds like a golden business opportunity, open a shop that rebuilds/refurbishes old groomers. Heck if they are willing to pay $100,000-$125,000 every two years for a new groomer someone should be able to rebuild one for $50,000-$75,000. Heck, if they rebuild one groomer from every club (69 clubs) every two years they would only spend (23 groomers @$50,000) $575,000, that equals 5 new groomers by todays method.

I have posted before that Bill Manson just doesn't get it anymore. He should not be allowed to be the mouthpiece for the MSA. The new leadership should step in and say enough is enough.

One way to offset the permit increase is to just stop being a member of the MSA, makes it about a wash.[/b]

I'd like to know where the 2-6 year number came from and who got one replaced that was only 2 yrs old.If thats the case,then we should get 5 new ones next year! Both of the cats are over 6yrs old,the 8120t is going on 4,the tonka -cat is 6,and the 7730 that we are useing on the cranberry 2.
 

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If I had the whole letter I would have posted it didnt have acess to it at the time. Glad you were able to get the rest of the story out.
 

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Let’s play with some hypothetical numbers that ole Bill put up.

This is all averaging, please do not take offense if your club does more miles or hours per season.

What we know or are told:
• 6500 miles of trails
• 95 tractors
• 69 clubs
• Average tractor cost of $100,000 plus
• December 1 – March 31 grooming season
• 121 days without leap year

If we groomed every mile of every trail every day they would put on the following:
Miles = 786500 miles
8279 miles per tractor
Hours per tractor @ 7mph = 1182 hours

We know that the above numbers are not true because they could never groom every mile every day. I am pretty sure that the John Deere, Agco, New Holland tractors are just starting to breath at these hours.

Absolutely the cost of grooming has increased because of the price of fuel, the longer you keep a groomer the repair costs do escalate; breakdowns eat into a clubs budget etc. But, to say that we will not have the same trails next year if they do not get $2-3,000,000 more is nuts. He also stated that the registration fee should go up. So on top of the trail fee increase you will get a registration increase plus we all know the fuel tax will not get cheaper.

Today we bring in $5,000,000 from permits (200,000 @$25.00 ea) plus gas tax and reg money, I think the clubs only get paid $3.50 (I think?) per mile groomed. That comes to $2.7 million to the clubs for grooming mileage if you use my numbers above. We have a few bucks left over ($2.3 million) for signage, new groomers, drags, heck lets pay the groomer operators $10 per hour for doing a great job. That’s only $11,820 per club on average. ($815,580 per year)

Dang, my head hurts. Snow is melting and my blood pressure is boiling, coincidence?
 

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Let’s play with some hypothetical numbers that ole Bill put up.

This is all averaging, please do not take offense if your club does more miles or hours per season.

What we know or are told:
• 6500 miles of trails
• 95 tractors
• 69 clubs
• Average tractor cost of $100,000 plus
• December 1 – March 31 grooming season
• 121 days without leap year

If we groomed every mile of every trail every day they would put on the following:
Miles = 786500 miles
8279 miles per tractor
Hours per tractor @ 7mph = 1182 hours

We know that the above numbers are not true because they could never groom every mile every day. I am pretty sure that the John Deere, Agco, New Holland tractors are just starting to breath at these hours.

Absolutely the cost of grooming has increased because of the price of fuel, the longer you keep a groomer the repair costs do escalate; breakdowns eat into a clubs budget etc. But, to say that we will not have the same trails next year if they do not get $2-3,000,000 more is nuts. He also stated that the registration fee should go up. So on top of the trail fee increase you will get a registration increase plus we all know the fuel tax will not get cheaper.

Today we bring in $5,000,000 from permits (200,000 @$25.00 ea) plus gas tax and reg money, I think the clubs only get paid $3.50 (I think?) per mile groomed. That comes to $2.7 million to the clubs for grooming mileage if you use my numbers above. We have a few bucks left over ($2.3 million) for signage, new groomers, drags, heck lets pay the groomer operators $10 per hour for doing a great job. That’s only $11,820 per club on average. ($815,580 per year)

Dang, my head hurts. Snow is melting and my blood pressure is boiling, coincidence?[/b]
Good job! I'm glad to see people finally doing the math, the MSA is out for the MSA. I want to see an itemized break down of the trail permit money. I also think there should be a surplus of money.
 

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Let’s play with some hypothetical numbers that ole Bill put up.

This is all averaging, please do not take offense if your club does more miles or hours per season.

What we know or are told:
• 6500 miles of trails
• 95 tractors
• 69 clubs
• Average tractor cost of $100,000 plus
• December 1 – March 31 grooming season
• 121 days without leap year

If we groomed every mile of every trail every day they would put on the following:
Miles = 786500 miles
8279 miles per tractor
Hours per tractor @ 7mph = 1182 hours

We know that the above numbers are not true because they could never groom every mile every day. I am pretty sure that the John Deere, Agco, New Holland tractors are just starting to breath at these hours.

Absolutely the cost of grooming has increased because of the price of fuel, the longer you keep a groomer the repair costs do escalate; breakdowns eat into a clubs budget etc. But, to say that we will not have the same trails next year if they do not get $2-3,000,000 more is nuts. He also stated that the registration fee should go up. So on top of the trail fee increase you will get a registration increase plus we all know the fuel tax will not get cheaper.

Today we bring in $5,000,000 from permits (200,000 @$25.00 ea) plus gas tax and reg money, I think the clubs only get paid $3.50 (I think?) per mile groomed. That comes to $2.7 million to the clubs for grooming mileage if you use my numbers above. We have a few bucks left over ($2.3 million) for signage, new groomers, drags, heck lets pay the groomer operators $10 per hour for doing a great job. That’s only $11,820 per club on average. ($815,580 per year)

Dang, my head hurts. Snow is melting and my blood pressure is boiling, coincidence?[/b]
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'd like to know where the 2-6 year number came from and who got one replaced that was only 2 yrs old.........[/b]
Youre not alone in the "would like to know" department.

If I had the whole letter I would have posted it didnt have acess to it at the time. Glad you were able to get the rest of the story out.[/b]
Didnt mean to ruffle any feathers....unfortunately had a good thread going on the first one but needed to get the "rest of the story" out. Thanks for clarification.

Good job! I'm glad to see people finally doing the math, the MSA is out for the MSA. I want to see an itemized break down of the trail permit money. I also think there should be a surplus of money.[/b]
Exactly! Just like the DNR, I think MSA needs to break down it's financial picture as well. "non-profit organization" can be a very misleading statement. What they post on the website is pretty "generic", I am sure the local clubs have to detail their requests for reimbursement a whole lot more than what we are being "fed" on the website.

Your number of groomers (tractors) is way low..........The last I knew there were 167....................[/b]
Yeah, I gotta dig around and see...the 167 number rings a bell....I DO know, that the SAC minutes FINALLY published at the DNR has a blip in there about a groomer sitting parked "OUTSIDE" a clubhouse for a year now and they dont know if it's not used because it's broke, awaiting parts, for sale or what is going on with it. A YEAR????? And nobody knows?

Manson commented those who oppose are also the ones who complain about the rough trails. Well, when one purchases a product one expects it to perform pretty much the way it was advertised.

In this case, we were sold the 10 dollar permit, and those savvy folks smiled and said yeah, theyre dumb enough not to realize they are already paying for the half assed grooming job we have been doing with their registration fees and the gas tax. Now we need a hook to get more so we will slip in a requirement that all snowmobiles have to have a permit and sell it for 25. Somewhere in that timeframe is when "bitchin about the rough trails" was born. We learned all about groomer breakdowns, how great the weather and the trails were "yesterday" and we were inspired to drive our employers crazy to take days off during the week to do of all stupid things, drive north in blizzards, put on 10 layers of clothes, ...well you get the idea, just to get on a smooth groomed trail that should have been groomed DAILY even back then, when everything was cheaper!

Bottom line today, Manson says were gonna have rough trails with less grooming if we dont increase the permit fee. Is there a guarantee the whole state is going to have rideable, groomable snow for more than 8 weeks? He says we need the groomers to do the job. Likely, only certain parts of Michigan will have a 8 week season, and those areas will be deluged with sledders, the trails will be toast and it will be physically impossible to groom them so all of us will get the bang for our buck in the area of a smooth snowmobile trail. I am certain that we DONT need all these new groomers, and there will be plenty of money to run groomers every day on the snow we get to groom trails every day.

If Manson wants to get something good accomplished, he should be talking to his reps about getting a law drafted to keep 4wd vehicles off of our snowmobile trails.
 

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Youre not alone in the "would like to know" department.
Didnt mean to ruffle any feathers....unfortunately had a good thread going on the first one but needed to get the "rest of the story" out. Thanks for clarification.
Exactly! Just like the DNR, I think MSA needs to break down it's financial picture as well. "non-profit organization" can be a very misleading statement. What they post on the website is pretty "generic", I am sure the local clubs have to detail their requests for reimbursement a whole lot more than what we are being "fed" on the website.
Yeah, I gotta dig around and see...the 167 number rings a bell....I DO know, that the SAC minutes FINALLY published at the DNR has a blip in there about a groomer sitting parked "OUTSIDE" a clubhouse for a year now and they dont know if it's not used because it's broke, awaiting parts, for sale or what is going on with it. A YEAR????? And nobody knows?

Manson commented those who oppose are also the ones who complain about the rough trails. Well, when one purchases a product one expects it to perform pretty much the way it was advertised.

In this case, we were sold the 10 dollar permit, and those savvy folks smiled and said yeah, theyre dumb enough not to realize they are already paying for the half assed grooming job we have been doing with their registration fees and the gas tax. Now we need a hook to get more so we will slip in a requirement that all snowmobiles have to have a permit and sell it for 25. Somewhere in that timeframe is when "bitchin about the rough trails" was born. We learned all about groomer breakdowns, how great the weather and the trails were "yesterday" and we were inspired to drive our employers crazy to take days off during the week to do of all stupid things, drive north in blizzards, put on 10 layers of clothes, ...well you get the idea, just to get on a smooth groomed trail that should have been groomed DAILY even back then, when everything was cheaper!

Bottom line today, Manson says were gonna have rough trails with less grooming if we dont increase the permit fee. Is there a guarantee the whole state is going to have rideable, groomable snow for more than 8 weeks? He says we need the groomers to do the job. Likely, only certain parts of Michigan will have a 8 week season, and those areas will be deluged with sledders, the trails will be toast and it will be physically impossible to groom them so all of us will get the bang for our buck in the area of a smooth snowmobile trail. I am certain that we DONT need all these new groomers, and there will be plenty of money to run groomers every day on the snow we get to groom trails every day.

If Manson wants to get something good accomplished, he should be talking to his reps about getting a law drafted to keep 4wd vehicles off of our snowmobile trails.
[/b]
Don't get me started on this one.....
 

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After 7 years, I am not renewing my MSA membership, those people are nuts. I could understand maintenance and problems with drags, but replacing a tractor, that is even 5 years old is bad business. Now if someone else is flipping the bill WTF I would buy a new unit ever couple years too, and why bother maintaining them. The sad part is this is the same problem that is going on all over Lansing right now and Michigan residents can't afford all the proposed increases in all the different areas. With these economic times it is best to just let it ride, times will be better and then maybe they can work out increases, not in the middle of the worst economic times in 50 years.
Honestly, I don't think that the clubs in the high snow areas can do any better than they are doing right now, high traffic and low snow conditions make it all but impossible for smooth trails on weekends. Tuesday through Thursday are the only days you can bet on smooth trails and I don't care how many groomers are working a trail.
 

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Let’s play with some hypothetical numbers that ole Bill put up.

This is all averaging, please do not take offense if your club does more miles or hours per season.

What we know or are told:
• 6500 miles of trails
• 95 tractors
• 69 clubs
• Average tractor cost of $100,000 plus
• December 1 – March 31 grooming season
• 121 days without leap year

If we groomed every mile of every trail every day they would put on the following:
Miles = 786500 miles
8279 miles per tractor
Hours per tractor @ 7mph = 1182 hours

We know that the above numbers are not true because they could never groom every mile every day. I am pretty sure that the John Deere, Agco, New Holland tractors are just starting to breath at these hours.

Absolutely the cost of grooming has increased because of the price of fuel, the longer you keep a groomer the repair costs do escalate; breakdowns eat into a clubs budget etc. But, to say that we will not have the same trails next year if they do not get $2-3,000,000 more is nuts. He also stated that the registration fee should go up. So on top of the trail fee increase you will get a registration increase plus we all know the fuel tax will not get cheaper.

Today we bring in $5,000,000 from permits (200,000 @$25.00 ea) plus gas tax and reg money, I think the clubs only get paid $3.50 (I think?) per mile groomed. That comes to $2.7 million to the clubs for grooming mileage if you use my numbers above. We have a few bucks left over ($2.3 million) for signage, new groomers, drags, heck lets pay the groomer operators $10 per hour for doing a great job. That’s only $11,820 per club on average. ($815,580 per year)

Dang, my head hurts. Snow is melting and my blood pressure is boiling, coincidence?[/b]
Reimbursment is $4.61/mile.The 8120 groomed 1300 miles last month
 

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Don't get me started on this one.....[/b]
Me niether,I already said too much about it elswhere!
 

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$4.61 bumps the price up to about $3.6 million in reimbursements to the clubs. Turbo, what kind of hours show on the groomer with the miles you have done this year. Just trying to see how ole Bill thinks they wear out in 2-3 years. 1300 miles @7 mph = 186 hours, that is about one month of grooming this year, sort of. If you keep it up at this pace, ha ha, you will put on 5200 miles and 744 hours this winter.

I think you should get paid to site in a tractor for that many hours. At $10 per hour you would get $7440 for the winter. I bet there may be some laid off works in the areas of the state that would like to make some supplemental income.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
All this talk about reducing the grooming days if there is any resistance. I didnt see a thing about establishing a payment program for the groomer operators.

Could it be due to the fact that a lot of Chambers of Commerce hire out contractors to groom their trail systems for a set price? Is that how Caddy is doing it? I noticed when I rode in that area, for the most part one runs around in a lot of circles unless you pick up the mis-kal trail or head south on the railroad grade. Like a damn bees nest.
 

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$4.61 bumps the price up to about $3.6 million in reimbursements to the clubs. Turbo, what kind of hours show on the groomer with the miles you have done this year. Just trying to see how ole Bill thinks they wear out in 2-3 years. 1300 miles @7 mph = 186 hours, that is about one month of grooming this year, sort of. If you keep it up at this pace, ha ha, you will put on 5200 miles and 744 hours this winter.

I think you should get paid to site in a tractor for that many hours. At $10 per hour you would get $7440 for the winter. I bet there may be some laid off works in the areas of the state that would like to make some supplemental income.[/b]
Its about 240 hrs because we can only average abour 5 mph on the bear.Last season I put about 2000 miles on the groomers,and about 600 on my sled!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This brings an interesting point to me....how DO they measure the mileage from grooming?
 
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