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Lewis legislators change ATV permit fees, despite club opposition

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators on Wednesday moved forward with a fee change to the county’s all-terrain vehicle permit system, despite opposition from ATV club members.

Lawmakers voted 9-1 to a change the ATV permit fee to $65 and eliminate any club member discount, with the intent of paying clubs only for completed trail work. Legislator Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, was opposed.

Mr. Stanford — as well as several club members in attendance — expressed concern that the switch would discourage riders from joining clubs.

“Myself and many of our club members are against this,” said Clifford White from the Highmarket Wheelers ATV Club. “You’re killing the clubs. That’s what it boils down to.”

Initial permits have cost $40 for an ATV owned by a member of a club in the Tug Hill Adirondack ATV Association and $80 for a machine owned by a nonmember, although nearly all riders have become club members — for a $25 membership fee — to qualify for the discount.

Under the new plan, which will take effect once the law is filed with the state, all riders would be charged $65 for their initial permits, with a multipermit rate of $20 per additional machine remaining in effect.

The permit increase would then provide more funding that the county could distribute to clubs to offset trail development costs in their areas, according to legislators.

“The (Economic Development) Committee wants to work with the clubs that are doing work on the off-road trails,” said committee member Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville.

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