To all our members.
The following is an email sent out from NYSSA alerting us to a possible Trail Funds situation for 2020. All clubs rely on these monies as they have been collected from the yearly sled registration fees we pay.
OVSA has continually worked through the years to host fundraisers to supplement these funds and not be totally reliant on them.
CC: Nick Barrella
June 5, 2020
To: NYSSA Board of Directors
From: Dominic Jacangelo
Re State Assistance Payments 30% & 2020 70%
At our last Board Meeting, a member inquired about the snowmobile Trail Fund balance, and whether the 30% vouchers will go out in a reasonable period of time. As of May 16th, Nicole did not have a solid answer for the board because she receives her reports on balances from several sources that report on different schedules. The reports that she receives contain significant variances in the balances reported. I have since followed up with Nicole, and through working with Nick Barrella and Park Strategies, have found an answer to the trail fund question.
In working with Nick and the Park Strategies Team (Tom Buchan and Kevin Bronner), we were able to determine the balance of $6.025 million in the Trail Fund as of April 1, 2020. There is currently $6.025 million in the Trail Fund. It appears that there is plenty of money in the fund to pay obligations through the 30%, law enforcement grants, support staff obligations, and to fund a good portion of the 70%. However, that is where the good news ends.
According to Kevin Bronner, who had been a principal player in Senate Finance for a number of years and the staff we spoke with from Division of Budget, the State is going through an unprecedented financial situation due to the COVID-19 impact on the economy. The latest projections from the New York State Division of Budget (DOB) are showing an expected $13 billion shortfall for the current FY 2021 State Budget. This has led to administrative actions that include a hiring freeze on all new State Employee hires, and a spending freeze on all discretionary spending by State Government Agencies. While no final decision has been made at this time, the lack of available cash may cause DOB to look at special revenue accounts and either hold up payments from those accounts or sweep those funds for other purposes under the Budget Director’s broad authority.
There is also a threat to delay both the payment of the 30% and the 70% due to a self-imposed administrative spending cap. The cap is riskier this year because of an expected increase in spending for social services and COVID-19 related expenses. While there is a risk that Trail Fund payments could be delayed, there has been no indication this will happen.
DOB has committed to meet with us in July when they have a better handle on state revenues, and at that time we will be in a better position to gauge potential impacts to the Trail Fund.
I could sum the above up by saying there are a great many unknowns at this point. We will use the fact that the Governor rides snowmobiles to help put the Snowmobile Trail Fund at the back of Division of Budget’s mind. I should point out that none of the people on the DOB call were around when the Trail Fund was raided in 2009, but more senior people at DOB were. Those people know that we would not take a raid on the fund laying down.