Borough considers change to vehicle loaning

We all hate it, but its forced upon us. Any local political issues we should know about ??

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REVITUP
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Borough considers change to vehicle loaning

#1 Post by REVITUP » Sat Jul 25, 2015 3:58 pm

Borough considers change to vehicle loaning



Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 11:33 pm

By Amanda Bohman, abohman@newsminer.com




FAIRBANKS — When a trail groomer in Two Rivers crashed a new borough-owned snowmachine last winter, totaling the sled, the incident brought to light a liability issue.

If the volunteer groomer had been hurt, the Fairbanks North Star Borough — as the owner of the machine — could have been held responsible.
"It’s really high-risk exposure,” borough Parks and Recreation Director Michael Bork said.


Bork is proposing the borough change its practice of loaning snowmachines to five ski and dog mushing clubs.


Under the plan, which goes before the assembly for discussion on Thursday and approval on July 30, the snowmachines provided to the clubs now would be donated to them. The groups would then take responsibility for insuring, maintaining and replacing the sleds.


The affected groups are the Salcha Ski Club, Two Rivers Ski Club, Two Rivers Dog Mushers, Alaska Dog Mushers Association and the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks.


Bork said the practice of providing the snowmachines to the clubs has gone on since 1993 when a state program ended and the borough stepped in. At the end of each winter, the borough would collect the machines and service them for the next season. After 10 years, when the snowmachines got to the end of their lives, the borough would replace them.


But the borough has no control over who drives the snowmachines and whether they receive training, Bork said. Over the years, the borough has learned of cases where the government-owned snowmachines have been improperly used for personal recreation. One time, a club destroyed a snowmachine motor by putting a fuel and oil mixture in the wrong tank.


“It’s not about trail grooming on our end. It’s about snowmachines,” Bork said.


The Alaska Dog Mushers Association takes care of the trails at the Jeff Studdert Race Grounds off Farmers Loop as well as a 24-mile loop that connects with trails at Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge.


The task is carried out by Sam Harrel, a fire information officer who in winter is a trail groomer for ADMA. Harrel uses a borough-provided 2013 Ski-Doo Skandic 600 for the task, which is carried out in the middle of the night when the trails are empty.


Harrel said he sees tracks from skiers and, in recent years, fat-tire bicyclists.


“We are serving more than just our membership by grooming these trails,” he said.


Casey Thompson, vice president of ADMA, said the dog mushers association operates on a tight budget.


“We have a great relationship with the borough. They are huge backers of ours,” Thompson said. “We had this conversation with them and we knew it was coming, but we do have some concerns when we are doing public trails for the borough,” he said. “It gets a little time-consuming and it is going to cost us a lot of money as a club to keep replacing that machine. How do we swallow that replacement cost?”


Bork said he knows of grant money available for trail grooming and said his department will continue to help clubs.


“We will provide any assistance we can, within the abilities that we have got, to keep these groups fulfilling their mission,” he said.


But Bork also suggested the clubs begin saving money to replace the current snowmachines. Each club should be able to continue grooming using borough-donated snowmachines for the next few years, Bork said. It’s enough time to plan and save for a replacement.


Bork is hoping that by the time a club needs a replacement snowmachine, the borough has a program in place whereby the clubs can apply to take ownership of a borough-owned snowmachine that is ready to be surplussed.


The president of the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks, Bruce Jamieson, said the sled the borough loans his club, a 2005 Alpina Sherpa 122, is one of many in the club’s fleet and that the change will have little impact on the organization.


“We maintain about half a million dollars in total grooming equipment,” Jamieson said. “I don’t see it as affecting us.”


Attempts to reach leaders in other clubs were unsuccessful.




My question; Other than those involved, who knew? This is preferential treatment to certain user groups using borough funds. And---was the borough required to carry liability insurance for each and every machine? The article makes it sound as if they didn't. (Remember what they wanted us to have for insurance for the Rondy? $5 million policy!) Can the borough "afford" to throw this kind of money around? Why don't these user groups raise their own funds for maintaining their trails or apply for grants from SnoTrac? They already have their hands in that cookie jar, might as well take advantage of some more of our registration money there too. My opinion.



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mit
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Re: Borough considers change to vehicle loaning

#2 Post by mit » Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:29 pm

As I read that, I had a lot of questions and my blood press went up some.....


Tim Berg
The Snowmachine Registration, needs to be Repealed!

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TheBearAk
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Re: Borough considers change to vehicle loaning

#3 Post by TheBearAk » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:29 pm

Very interesting. My step-son won the bid to groom trails for the borough about 3-4 years ago and he was expected to have his own machine and groomer.

He did it for one year and decided it wasn't something he wanted to do again.


1996 Skidoo Touring E 380
1995 Skidoo Summit 583

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mit
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Re: Borough considers change to vehicle loaning

#4 Post by mit » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:29 am



Tim Berg
The Snowmachine Registration, needs to be Repealed!

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