GREENVILLE, Maine — Residents will be asked at the June town meeting to contribute about $28,700 toward the $75,000 cost of next year’s snowmobile trail grooming.
Selectmen on Wednesday accepted the recommendations made by the town’s snowmobile committee to contract with John and Lauri Waitkus, doing business as Greenville ITS Snowmobile Trail Grooming, at a cost of $75,000 next year. Any costs associated with the program beyond the $75,000 would be borne by the contractor.
Under the new proposed contract, the couple would be responsible for all pre-season trail work, including landowner permissions, layout of trails, trail improvements, and new construction, including bridges, in addition to trail grooming, according to Town Manager John Simko.
This would mean that the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club would not have to do any ITS trail grooming unless the couple specifically engaged it as a contractor, he said.
“We’re getting a much more comprehensive service than we have in the past,” Simko said of the work done by the Waitkuses. He said continuing to contract with the couple, who have groomed the trails in recent years, made sense. He said more grooming equipment is being used, operators are being paid, repairs are being quickly made and the trails are being groomed more consistently than they were a few years ago.
The town expects to receive about $43,000 from the Department of Conservation’s snowmobile trail grooming program and about $3,300 in reimbursement from the state for snowmobile registrations. The estimated $28,700 is the difference needed to continue the program.
The trail maintained by Greenville basically goes from Kokadjo to Greenville, halfway to Katahdin Iron Works, west to meet The Forks groomer and then south to Blanchard, according to Simko. Since the trail goes through the Unorganized Territory, along with the towns of Shirley and Beaver Cove, it would seem fair to spread the cost, he said.
Between now and town meeting, Simko said discussions will be held with the Greenville Economic Council and with town officials in the two neighboring communities and the county.
The committee also recommended that the town work with the local Chamber of Commerce to outline the private-sector funds used this winter and last year for the snowmobile program; consider seeking a county bond or even a statewide bond to pay for substantial physical improvements to ITS trails; and advocate for increases in funding levels through the Maine Department of Conservation for the annual snowmobile trail-grooming program.
Simko said snowmobiling pumps considerable funds into the Moosehead Lake region. To determine just how much it helps annually, the snowmobile committee has recommended that the town find a way to fund an economic analysis. Eastern Maine Development Corp. has offered to complete a study for $2,500, he said.