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Lisbon Campground online reservation system upgrade put on hold

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LISBON — The town is holding off on plans to install an online registration system at the Lisbon Beach and Campground in the wake of public outcry.

Lisbon resident Julie L. Snyder delivered a petition to the Town Council with 316 signatures in opposition to the proposed software change at Thursday’s meeting.

“It’s a family campground now,” Mrs. Snyder said. “We do not want the reservations to go online; we want (campground director) Michael O’Neil to be able to view the applications in advance.”

Mrs. Snyder said when she first started going to the campground, police often would be called in to break up big parties. Mr. O’Neil, she said, has cleaned up the campground and an automated reservation system could allow people who have been banned to slip back in.

Mr. O’Neil said he doesn’t want to lose control of who camps at the beach, but said if an online reservation system allows him to accept or reject requests it could work so long as he is still able to be flexible about keeping large parties together.

Councilor Susan M. Duffy said an online system would still give Mr. O’Neil the ability to cancel reservations from people who have been banned from the campsite.

Ms. Duffy said the council is going to continue looking at online reservation systems, but won’t move ahead this year.

The town will give concerned residents the ability to look at any computerized system they feel is best before they implement it, Ms. Duffy said.

Residents at Thursday’s meeting also expressed concern with what they described as a critical view by the town toward the beach and campground.

Referring to discussion by councilmen Alan D. Dailey and Nathanael Putney at April’s meeting regarding the possible sale of the campground at some point in the next several years, residents pointed out that the campground is making a profit.

Mrs. Snyder pointed out that last year the campground made the town $28,000.

“It has never been run better,” said Newell T. Martin, a longtime camper. “It has never been a nicer place to be than it is right now. The beach is self-sustaining; it makes money.”

Mr. Martin said the beach and campground is “the only asset the town of Lisbon has. We want it left alone.”

Mr. Dailey said the discussion regarding the possible sale of the campground was started because the council worries that money from the New York Power Authority will run out soon.

The town has roughly $190,000 in Power Authority money, Mr. Dailey said.

“When (the cost of the campground) starts coming onto the general public, that’s the time we need to have a discussion about finding something else to do,” he said.

Mrs. Duffy said there currently are no intentions to sell the beach.

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