The human element
To the Editor:
In reading the article in the January 10 Reporter (“Island mostly unaffected by fed shutdown – so far”), I noted a critical absence of any reference to the degree to which the Island’s residents have been and will likely be impacted.
Shelter Island is not just infrastructure and services — indeed, several important stakeholders comprise the fabric of our town, and to suggest that the “Island [is] mostly unaffected” is misleading in its omission of the human element.
I am a federal employee and am aware of at least two other Island residents who have either been furloughed or are working without pay. I surmise there may be others in our Island demographic who have been similarly impacted, such as weekenders, summer renters or recurring visitors.
If the federal shutdown is protracted, as many in Washington are anticipating, the temporary financial impact on us federal employees will be significant and will certainly be reflected in our spending habits.
Without an immediate end to the stalemate in sight, I am already curtailing arbitrary or unnecessary spending, as many other government workers are doing, and the degree to which our local businesses, tourism, summer rentals, etc. suffer the economic ramifications will at least in some measure be contingent on how long we are out of work and unpaid.
I caution against any inclination toward complacency when considering the impact of the federal shutdown on our town and on its residents and not just on its infrastructure and services.
LOREN S. REICH
Facts needed on deer
To the Editor:
The Reporter’s coverage on the town’s “moving to fund a special deer season” was indeed enlightening. However, it caused me to obtain information that was not repeated to the public, but which should be taken into account when the expense is considered. Luckily, Chief Read has the common sense to delay any final action beyond the town’s February 1 commencement of the hunt.
The budget for the deer culling project is basically $50,000 and the state added $25,000 for a total of $75,000 in 2018. I don’t believe the state guarantees continuity of their contribution; without it, the budget would be totally in the red.
The expense for corn for the 4-posters alone was $55,232, plus maintenance, such as applicator guns, costing $1,152. Tickicide in 2018 cost $14,701. The total cost was $71,085.
Not included in that figure are several costs: Animal Control Officer Beau Payne’s salary; help from the Highway Department; the cost of butchering and wrapping the deer meat. The town would also bear the cost of license fees for hunters; insurance; reward for each doe killed; totaling an estimated minimum of $5,850. That brings the total already over the initial $75,000. There is an additional amount of $16,500 in the budget under another category, which would possibly cover the difference when salaries are included.
An accurate count of the number of deer on our Island should be a must in order to justify the expense. It seems strange that the deer that used to browse at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club, are no longer there. Their numbers in the Hay Beach area are much lower. It seems wherever the 4-posters are located, the deer congregate to feed on corn. That’s where they are counted and their numbers multiplied accordingly, which is incorrect.
I do not believe that the deer population has increased drastically over the last few years; on the contrary, there may be fewer, which may account for fewer being killed during recreational hunting. Also, many of the previous woodlands are being built on with vegetation removed, thus, no longer being inhabited by deer in numbers as before.
To spend over $100,000 annually, and more without state subsidies, on a project based strictly on assumptions, not proof, is unacceptable.
Tick-borne diseases are, likewise, not backed up with actual statistics for Shelter Island, so let’s stop the noise and work on proof before spending all that taxpayer money!