Council Rejects Controlled Deer Hunt

P-J file photo by Eric Tichy

Even though the proposal to allow a controlled deer hunt has been voted down, city officials know the population of deer is a problem that they will need to continue looking at to find a solution.

On Monday during the Jamestown City Council voting session meeting, the council voted down the controlled deer hunt proposal by a vote of 7-2. Only Tom Nelson, Ward 6 councilman and Jamestown Deer Ad Hoc Committee chairman, and Grant Olson, Ward 5 councilman, voted in favor of the proposal.

After the vote, Kim Ecklund, At-Large councilwoman, Jeff Russell, At-Large councilman, and Anthony Dolce, council president and Ward 2 councilman, said even though the controlled deer hunt proposal was voted down, the overabundance of deer in the city is a problem and they need to keep looking for an answer.

“It is a problem … we need to keep looking at it,” Dolce said.

Dolce said he voted no because he believes there needs to be a more comprehensive plan than the one the committee created to possibly be put into place before allowing a controlled deer hunt.

“There are so many questions about liability,” Ecklund said. “We have no oversight built into this (committee’s plan).”

Marie Carrubba, Ward 4 councilwoman, said less than 1% of the reported vehicle accidents that occur in the city involve deer. She also had questions about who would monitor the controlled deer hunt if it would take place.

Prior to the vote, Nelson discussed two amendments to the original plan that was presented to the council last week. He said instead of 15 hunters that only eight people would have been selected to participate. The other amendment was that instead of five locations in the city for the proposed controlled deer hunt, only Jones and Gifford and Allen parks would have been locations allowed for the deer management program.

Prior to the council’s discussion and vote on the controlled deer hunt, two people presented their opinion about the proposal to the council, with one speaking in favor and the other against the program.

In other business:

¯ The council approved the new three-year contract agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 1000. According to Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, the new agreement will start Jan. 1, 2022, and expire Dec. 31, 2024. He said that the salaries for each of the employees in the union will increase 2.5% each year of the contract. Also, he said CSEA employees would start to fund 21% of their health insurance premiums. The previous rate was 18%.

In June 2020, the council had reached a three-year – 2019 to 2021 – retroactive contract agreement with the CSEA. Employees in the union received a retroactive pay increase of 2% in 2019 and 2020. The union membership, which includes 16 full-time and five part-time employees who work as clerical staff and engineers, received a 2.5% increase in 2021.

¯ The council approved new health care insurance options for Medicare-eligible participants in the city’s self-insured program. Last week, Ecklund said the program would be voluntary for the Medicare-eligible participant to enroll in one of two new plans. Also, after one year anyone who chooses to leave the new options would be allowed to return to the city’s plan if they are not satisfied.

Last week, Elliot Raimondo, city corporation counsel, said if either of the two new options would change, those who left the city’s plan would be allowed back. He also said that Highmark Western New York, formerly Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, has guaranteed the two new plans for at least two years.

Russell, who chaired the Health Insurance Committee created by Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, said any Medicare-eligible participant who enrolls in one of the two new plans would not have to pay for health insurance for five years. He said after five years, the enrollee would be locked into the current rate they pay for life.

According to a staff report on the new health care options, the potential savings to the city are dependent upon the total number of enrollees. The city could potentially save $1,580 per participant per year and on average could save up to $1,800 per year per participant in the initial five years.

In his 2021 Executive Budget proposal, Sundquist had proposed switching retirees over the age of 65 from the city’s self-funded health care program to a medicare supplemental plan, which Sundquist said, at the time, would result in $1.1 million in savings. The proposal was pulled by the council before voting on the 2021 budget last November because current and retired union members spoke against the proposal and picketed in front of the Jamestown Municipal Building.


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