The Derry Town Council has unanimously approved applying for a grant for patrolling OHRV – off highway recreational vehicle trails, though the grant amount is not yet available.
At the April 1 Town Council meeting, the Council heard a description of the proposed grant from Police Chief Edward Garone.
“It’s an unusual grant,” Garone told the Council, “in that it’s funded through registrations of off-highway recreational vehicles. The Fish and Game Department does not yet have the funds, so they can’t give us an amount.” Further, he said, Derry might not qualify for the grant.
“The Department will disseminate the funds as they see fit,” he said.
But Derry won’t qualify if it doesn’t apply, Garone added, saying, “We need to indicate we’re willing to do it.”
The patrol is expected to cost $60.88 per hour for one officer’s overtime and benefits, and if Fish and Game allots money to Derry, Garone will divide the amount by $60.88. “That’s how many patrols we’ll run,” he said.
Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau said, “If the grant is more than $5,000, we’ll have to come back to the Council for a public hearing.”
Councilor Michael Fairbanks asked, “If we don’t accept the grant, who would patrol the area?”
The state Fish and Game officers, Garone responded. The problem is that there are only 35 to 40 Fish and Game officers for the entire state, and most are busy patrolling a new trail in the North Country.
The Derry department gets “a fair number of complaints” from trail users about OHRV use, which they then forward to Fish and Game, Garone said. Issues include speeding and disorderly conduct among the OHRV users. “Our presence,” he said, “will be the biggest deterrent.”
Chairman Mark Osborne asked if this would mean a duplication of services that Derry police already provide, and Garone said no.
“Would it take them away from their existing duties?” Councilor Joshua Bourdon asked.
“No,” Garone said. “It will all be on an overtime basis.”
The Council voted unanimously to authorize Budreau to apply for, accept and expend the grant.