MEXICO – Snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle clubs in town won’t be getting $5,000 handouts to maintain trails like they have in the past.

Selectmen and the Budget Committee met Wednesday night to go over 2003-04 municipal budget.

Despite arguments that the snowmobile club adds economic value to the area by Town Manager Joe Derouche, Selectman Louise Waterhouse and resident Herb Campbell, a majority of both panels voted to raise zero dollars.

That means the June 9 town meeting warrant won’t include a $5,000 request from the Mexico Trailblazers or a $5,000 request from the ATV Riders.

Waterhouse attempted to give each club $2,500 but the motion was defeated 1-2 with Selectmen Arthur Bordeau and Barbara Laramee voting no. Chairman Reggie Arsenault abstained.

After the vote, Derouche said, “This is the one account that brings economic value to us.”

The Budget Committee then voted 6-0 to raise zero dollars.

Campbell, representing the Trailblazers, pleaded for the money, saying that due to the loss of a grant, the club faced a shortfall this year.

But Laramee countered, noting that the board had opted not to give money to several social service agencies at a previous meeting and should, therefore, follow through with that idea.

When asked what it would mean not to get that $5,000, Campbell said the 40 miles of trail the club maintains won’t be maintained as well as it has in past years.

If an account doesn’t have a monetary value in the proposed budget, it doesn’t show up on the warrant. Which means, the snowmobile and ATV clubs will have to take out a petition from Town Clerk Penny Duguay in hopes of getting their requests on the warrant.

According to Duguay, petitioners must gather signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters, based on the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. That means petitioners would have to gather at least 106 signatures.

May 16 is the cutoff date for submitting petitions before town meeting. Petitioners must follow state statutes on wording and procedures for circulating petitions to force placement on a town meeting warrant, Duguay noted. Sample copies are available at the town office.

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