State Comptroller Says Cortland and Other Counties Overcharged Snowmobile Clubs
The State Comptroller’s Office has faulted Cortland and other counties for charging snowmobile clubs administrative fees to administer state funded trail maintenance grants.
An audit by the New York State Comptroller's Office found a variety of problems -- and one possible case of fraud -- in the state's snowmobile trail grooming program.
According to Cortland County Planning Director Dan Dineen who oversees the local snowmobile grant program, Cortland County generally charges the nine local clubs about $7 to $10 thousand dollars each year. The money is used to make trail maps for the groups and cover the staff costs associated with applying for accounting for the grants.
Dineen says the county acts as a pass through for the for the grant money, but does charge the fees to clubs that use the trails in Cortland County.
In 2011, the county received nearly $117 thousand dollars to fund the local snowmobile trial program.
Cortland County has repeatedly urged the clubs to form an association so they can apply to the state directly for the funds and the county can get out of the picture entirely, but the 9 clubs have refused.
The Comptrollers report says Cortland and seven other counties, which act as sponsors to allocate the state snowmobile trail money in their areas, improperly assessed administrative fees totaling $48,397.
The audit also found some potential fraud in the Herkimer County Snowmobile Association. There were also some questions raised about the rat of reimbursement some clubs recived for trail grooming.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that the Office of Parks and Historic Preservation needs to provide better oversight over the maintenance fund.
The parks office receives about $5 million a year from snowmobile registration fees and penalties. The money is distributed to sponsors such as counties and municipalities, which oversee trail services.