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Results of Deer & Tick Survey won’t be released until after election

REPORTER FILE PHOTO  A deer feeding at a 4-poster stand. brushing against a post treated with a chemical, permethrin, that kills ticks.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO A deer feeding at a 4-poster stand. brushing against a post treated with a chemical, permethrin, that kills ticks.

At the candidates forum for office seekers held Sunday at the school auditorium, Gary Gerth, candidate for supervisor, asked incumbent Supervisor Jim Dougherty why the results of a survey asking residents questions related to deer and tick issues would not be released until after Election Day.

Mr. Dougherty said, “I’m ready to go.”

But Mr. Dougherty, according to Police Chief Jim Read, had told him the results would be released November 8, the day after Election Day.

On Monday, Chief Read, who coordinates the deer management program for the town,  said, “It was a shared decision based on scheduling.”

Later during Sunday’s forum, incumbent Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams confirmed the release date would be at the scheduled November 8 Town Board work session.

Ms. Brach-Williams noted that the plan had been to release results of the survey this Wednesday at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Deer & Tick Committee, but those meetings are not televised, as are Town Board work sessions.

Chief Read said Monday that he had a conflict for the October 24 work session and Mr. Dougherty told him there were too many items on the agenda for the scheduled October 31 work session, which left, Chief Read said, “November 8 as the earliest date.”

Councilwoman Chris Lewis said Monday that releasing results after the election is “a really bad idea. In what universe did anyone think that was a good plan? It looks like they’re being disingenuous with the information.”

Some questions in the survey have to do with the funding of the 4-poster program — feeding stands that brush deer with a tickicide, permethrin. The program has raised public health questions from some residents, as well as if financing the program is effective in reducing ticks and the diseases they carry.

Mr. Dougherty, a staunch advocate for 4-posters since their introduction here in 2008, has lobbied successfully for hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state to fund the program.

The board wrestled with what questions to include in the survey and then in August, shortly before the survey was to be sent to residents, a full-page ad in the Reporter paid for by the Shelter Island Association sparked Mr. Dougherty’s anger.

At a work session, Mr. Dougherty called one part of the ad about 4-posters “wildly inaccurate,” “irresponsible” and that he had a “moral obligation” to dispute some claims in the copy.

The ad was set to run one more time, but the Reporter asked the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to review it and was advised not publish it because of inaccuracies and information that was “not sufficiently supported.”