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Hastings Mayor's Message - 08/02/09 - Trustees' Deer Update
Fellow Residents,
At the last Board of Trustees meeting in July, the Board received the Greenburgh Deer Committee Report. This detailed, well-researched report reviews all the issues associated with white-tail deer proliferation in our community, the options available and the advantages and disadvantages associated with those options.
The deer population in Hastings has exploded over the last twenty years. They have brought the pleasure of seeing a significant bit of the wild in our lives, and few can deny that the sight of fawns (in great numbers, it seems, this year) is a surprise and delight enjoyed by many. They have also brought substantial depredation to this community. Gardens have been destroyed, the understory and ecological balance of the woods devastated, numerous accidents have occurred (16 last year alone) and, most devastatingly, hundreds of residents have had Lyme Disease, some to the point of being seriously disabled. I believe it has, indeed, become imperative that we contend with this issue and determine our response with a clear eye to the realities of the various solutions.
The Village has already posted the document on website (Deer Report (pdf)) and in physical form at the library. The chapters each cover a facet of the issue, and the document is well-worth reading. It is informative, and surprisingly easy to read and master. There are a few ways forward, and they will each merit examination.
I want to describe the steps the Board plans to take to wend our way as a community through this decision:
1) Working group
With the presentation of the Deer Report, the Board recognizes that the next steps will include examining specific alternative plans of action. Over the next few weeks, we are convening a group of residents to help us do so.
2) Board question and answer session
The Board of Trustees is reviewing the Deer Report and has requested that the primary author be available on August 4th for a Board question and answer period.
3) Public comment
The public will be invited to a Public Comment session, to be scheduled in September, to weigh in preliminarily on the document and issue. Public comments can also be submitted by letter or email.
4) Board work session to review options
The Board will review the options available and hone in on a specific option. This will be formally written down and posted on the website.
It will also be shared with the Public Health Committee, which will be asked to weigh in. This would occur towards the latter part of September.
5) Public comment on proposed option
There will be a second public comment period in October for the public to review and provide their input on the recommended alternative.
6) Board discussion and decision
The Board will review public and committee input and come to a final decision in late October or early November.
7) Implementation
The Board will work through the mechanics of implementation, including public education (through the Public Health Committee), and detailed review of the proposed methodology of the solution. We would look to this winter for possible action.
The trustees and I believe this represents a deliberative, measured, and transparent approach. It will give everyone time to consider and review the issues. Throughout this, the tone and nature of the discussion will be key to how successfully we navigate the process.
While I well understand the passions this issue can invoke, I would suggest that we are, as a community, ready to have this discussion, and I believe we are ready to come to next steps.
Peter Swiderski

Board of Trustees

Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York