There are deer in Old Westbury – too many, according to the village’s Board of Trustees. To respond, the village is considering hunting them.
On Monday, the board voted unanimously to approve the filing of an application for a deer damage permit with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. It also introduced a related local law that would more strictly regulate the use of guns and other weapons in Old Westbury. That includes bows and arrows, said the village’s attorney, Michael Sahn.
At the beginning of the meeting, the board unanimously passed its $15.18 million budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Deer damage permits allow recreational deer hunting for purposes of population control, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website. They are applicable if deer are affecting aspects of the community such as biodiversity or human safety.
Hunting with a deer damage permit usually takes place outside of open hunting seasons, the website says.
“Because we are aware that private property owners may seek that type of permit we want to tighten up the restrictions in the village code about the discharge of firearms,” Sahn said.
The amended code would require residents to provide notice to the village Police Department that they are seeking a deer damage permit, the attorney said. Hunting would take place under police supervision, he said.
A representative of the Department of Environmental Conservation will attend the village’s public board meeting in May, along with a bow hunter, Trustee Marina Chimerine said.
“We’re looking to protect the safety and well being of our residents,” she said. “There’s tremendous deer populations all over the island and we seem to be having more and more in our area and we need to take care of this issue.”
The board also passed the 2019-20 budget and approved applications for renovations at two religious institutions: Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation and Life Lutheran Church.
With total expenditures in the new budget set at $15.18 million, it is 0.42 percent higher than the current budget.
Village taxes are increasing by approximately 1.9 percent for homeowners, Trustee Edward Novick said.
The budget leaves the village at an approximately $1 million deficit for the second consecutive year. However, the village is anticipating ending the 2018-19 fiscal year with a $790,000 surplus, which would be applied to that deficit, reducing it to less than $300,000. The village was projecting a $2 million deficit when entering the current fiscal year, Novick said.
Some factors that contributed to revenue growth included greater activity in the Village Court, greater activity with the Building Department, short-term investments and administrative efficiency.
“What we’re seeing here is a moment of anticipated growth where the revenue was even more significant than we thought,” Novick said.
In recent years the village upgraded its water infrastructure, which caused deficits, he said.
“That 50-year catch up was very extensive,” he said.
With interest going up on water bonds he said he is anticipating a $400,000 deficit in the Water Department.
The village will continue to invest in upgrading its roads and also plans to plant new trees and consider purchasing license plate readers for the Police Department in the coming year, the board members said.
In a separate matter, the assessment pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act for proposed changes at the Lubavitch of Old Westbury determined that there is the potential for significant environmental impacts. The board adopted a resolution of positive declaration under the environmental act and a determination of significance.
The Lubavitch is now required to study the issues that arose by creating an environmental impact statement.