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Town Hall notes: Board backs new deer management position

08/26/2015 9:25 AM |

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At Tuesday morning’s meeting, the Town Board endorsed the idea of hiring a part-time position devoted solely to deer management.

“Certainly, there’s merit here, because we’re still way out of balance. There’s deer everywhere.” said Councilman Bill Ruland during the meeting.

Deer — and the ticks they carry with them — are widespread on the East End, and their overpopulation can spread tick-born illness and damage crops. Last year, a deer cull meant to provide relief fell flat, and in June, Southold decided to form a committee specifically designed to address ticks.

Councilwoman Jill Doherty said during the meeting the position would be more convenient for residents and would take some strain off of Department of Public Works Director Jeff Standish.

“It gives an avenue for everybody to go to one person,” she said. “Right now they go to Jeff, and he’s got so many things on his plate. This way, we can have one person and we can tell people, ‘Go to this person and start there.’”

 

 

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he will formally propose the position in his budget.

The Town Board also discussed establishing a clear framework for septic systems in the town, which would allow officials to understand how best to administer upgrades.

“Right now, all we have are estimates of how many systems are out there,” said town engineer Michael Collins during the meeting. “What this framework would allow you to do is set up for funding and oversight of a septic upgrade system.”

Mr. Russell said it’s key that the town figures out how best to upgrade those systems, especially since the East End uses mostly outdated septic tanks instead of sewer systems like the majority of Suffolk County.

“This is probably the issue that is foremost in environmental organizations’ minds,” he said.

To assist with mapping the stormwater drains, Mr. Collins suggested purchasing a high-tech camera that is attached to the end of a 300-foot snake. That device could be lowered into the drainage system and identify blockages or infrastructure weaknesses before flooding problems arise.

Over the past few years, he said, experts have mapped all surface drainage systems in Southold; now they want complete the map to include the subterranean network.

The camera would cost about $16,000, but Mr. Collins said once purchased, the town could receive a $10,000 reimbursement from a state grant.

“It’s going to save us a ton down the line because the only other way to find anything is to tear up the road, and that’s going to get a lot more expensive,” he said.

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