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Why the MTA sent $5 million to Upstate SKi Resorts

benski

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Why does the state operate Ski areas? They should be finically self, it defiantly would be a competitive market, and its not for public benefit any more than any other business is.
 

catskillman

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Why does the state operate Ski areas? They should be finically self, it defiantly would be a competitive market, and its not for public benefit any more than any other business is.

Agree with that, and it has been a topic on this site often.

And why would the transit authority be told to send Belleayre, Whiteface and Gore $5 million dollars directly? There is no way that is proper accounting for state agencies. I am sure the resorts could use the $5M, and were happy to have it.........
 

cdskier

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I don't have a problem with the state operating ski areas as long as it is a revenue source. If they are operating at a loss, then the state shouldn't be running them.

As for the payment, if the MTA owed the state $5M and the state needed to put $5M in the accounts for one of their own departments, I don't particularly see the big issue with the state telling the MTA to essentially send the money directly to that account instead of the general account. One less money transfer later on. Big deal. The money was owed to the state and it went to the state. Maybe it isn't standard practice or good accounting, but I also don't see this as particularly newsworthy. The headline of this thread had me thinking the MTA took it upon themselves to pay the ski areas for something.
 

BenedictGomez

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in March of 2016, the MTA sent $4.9 million to three upstate ski mountains operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority [ORDA]. The MTA owed that money to the state, according to the governor's budget spokesperson, but was directed by Cuomo to write a check to ORDA directly.

This is actually a pretty serious matter. That's scandalous.

It's what entities do when they're facing serious financial troubles, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and in my experience it is usually indicative of far more dire conditions than said entity will publicly reveal and/or is generally publicly known.

What makes this even more curious, is that the MTA is also in pretty dire financial shape, so from that perspective, it's odd. In fact, that State Senator's explanation might hold water given how strange this is. From an accounting perspective, it might be a way for New York State to conceal how much taxpayer money its' truly spending by transferring money directly from one public-benefit corporation to another public-benefit corporation. I'd love to see how they're accounting for that transactionally on the books, because I smell a rotting fish here. I believe they're likely recording it as a transfer rather than an expense. Just my WAG (wild azz guess).
 

BenedictGomez

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Why does the state operate Ski areas?

They shouldn't. It's a taxpayer money-draining hole, and it hurts the non-government players.

Imagine how much more successful Plattekill could be if their neighbor Bellayre wasn't constantly sucking off the government teat of life support?

Imagine how much more amazing Whiteface could be if it wasn't government run? Whiteface is a gem that's being operated like a low-grade piece of coal.

Imagine what would be possible at Gore if it wasnt government run? That place could also be a gem, IMO, some of the best tree skiing in the east.


why would the transit authority be told to send Belleayre, Whiteface and Gore $5 million dollars directly?

See my above post, which is admittedly 100% unfounded speculation on my part...... but..... both the MTA and ORDA are P.B.A. organizations run by New York State.

So..... I believe New York State is likely recording these transactions on the books as internal transfers of funds, rather than expenses. If so, the accounting scandal level = High. It's the sort of thing people would go to jail for in the private sector, but since it's the government and they control the bayonets, nothing will likely happen to anyone beyond a slap on the wrist.
 

snoseek

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Over in NH Cannon Mtn is owned and operated by the state and I feel like they do a nice job
 

Smellytele

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This is actually a pretty serious matter. That's scandalous.

It's what entities do when they're facing serious financial troubles, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and in my experience it is usually indicative of far more dire conditions than said entity will publicly reveal and/or is generally publicly known.

What makes this even more curious, is that the MTA is also in pretty dire financial shape, so from that perspective, it's odd. In fact, that State Senator's explanation might hold water given how strange this is. From an accounting perspective, it might be a way for New York State to conceal how much taxpayer money its' truly spending by transferring money directly from one public-benefit corporation to another public-benefit corporation. I'd love to see how they're accounting for that transactionally on the books, because I smell a rotting fish here. I believe they're likely recording it as a transfer rather than an expense. Just my WAG (wild azz guess).

Not sure it really is robbing Peter to pay Paul because if the MTA did truly owe money to the State coffers and the State did truly owe the 3 ski areas the same amount then it wouldn't be. But if this wasn't the case then that is a totally different story and it would be scandalous as you note.
 

Jully

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They shouldn't. It's a taxpayer money-draining hole, and it hurts the non-government players.

Imagine how much more successful Plattekill could be if their neighbor Bellayre wasn't constantly sucking off the government teat of life support?

Imagine how much more amazing Whiteface could be if it wasn't government run? Whiteface is a gem that's being operated like a low-grade piece of coal.

Imagine what would be possible at Gore if it wasnt government run? That place could also be a gem, IMO, some of the best tree skiing in the east.

I go back and forth on state run ski areas. While the private sector is much more aggressive in expansion and upgrades, the ski industry is extremely volatile. NYC places strange limits on its ski areas though especially, like the trail limits that are completely arbitrary. I would also like to ski Whiteface under private ownership.
 

Smellytele

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I go back and forth on state run ski areas. While the private sector is much more aggressive in expansion and upgrades, the ski industry is extremely volatile. NYC places strange limits on its ski areas though especially, like the trail limits that are completely arbitrary. I would also like to ski Whiteface under private ownership.

States justify having ski areas by saying they create other financial opportunities in the regions where they are. Hotels, restaurants and other supporting opportunities. Not saying they do or not nor if they are better at doing it or not.
 

cdskier

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Aren't all three of the NYS ski areas in "forever wild" Forest Preserve areas? If so, privatizing them would require NYS constitutional amendments. Chances of that happening are slim to none. I'm not convinced any of these resorts would be better off under private ownership. Isn't NYS investing close to $30M between these 3 resorts this year on capital improvements? Granted I think the Gondola at Belleayre is a gigantic waste, but you can't say NYS isn't spending money on their resorts.
 

BenedictGomez

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Not sure it really is robbing Peter to pay Paul because if the MTA did truly owe money to the State coffers and the State did truly owe the 3 ski areas the same amount then it wouldn't be. But if this wasn't the case then that is a totally different story and it would be scandalous as you note.

It might not be in the literal sense, but it's definitely an improper movement of funds. There is no non-shady explanation for this that I can see. The, "well, it was just easier that way and it's all very innocent" answer is, IMO, horsepoop. Hopefully someone investigates it.
 

BenedictGomez

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I would also like to ski Whiteface under private ownership.

You put Whiteface under private ownership, with that massive capital infusion they desperately need, and also allow for some very limited real estate development (a bar, a restaurant, a lodge), and it could be one of the best resorts in the east.

Even without spending a dime, however, just getting rid of the Keystone Cops government management of Whiteface would be a huge improvement.
 

deadheadskier

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Aren't all three of the NYS ski areas in "forever wild" Forest Preserve areas? If so, privatizing them would require NYS constitutional amendments. Chances of that happening are slim to none. I'm not convinced any of these resorts would be better off under private ownership. Isn't NYS investing close to $30M between these 3 resorts this year on capital improvements? Granted I think the Gondola at Belleayre is a gigantic waste, but you can't say NYS isn't spending money on their resorts.
What's kind of interesting is that you look at VT and the perception is that it is the state of tree huggers and a difficult development environment. The reality is that NY, NH and ME all have been more restrictive over time in ski area development. This isn't just true of generations past, but with modern projects as well.

It's a real shame. I am not sure the East can support any more major ski areas than it does (highly unlikely actually), but I look at the mountains in the Catskills, Adirondacks, Whites and Northern Maine and all could have way more large ski areas than they do currently.

Some of the proposed ski areas you see on nelsap would have been incredible if they ever came to be.

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Jully

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Some of the proposed ski areas you see on nelsap would have been incredible if they ever came to be.

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Looking at those is a good way to make myself feel sad. Some truly epic resorts were planned back in the day. Unfortunately, the ski industry in the east is just not in a phase of expansion in any sense of the word (terrain, # of areas, etc). I don't think we will see that change in our lifetimes either.
 
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Other than the Bigelow development way back in the mid 70's when has Maine been restrictive in ski area development? The argument could be made that it has not been restrictive enough as the many lift failures point to poor over site. Don't think anyone has trimmed as high up in the alpine zone in the NE as Sugarloaf has with some of its glades.
 
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