Deer cull discussion still inflames Ogden Dunes residents
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent December 5, 2012 5:26PM
Updated: January 7, 2013 7:18AM
OGDEN DUNES -- Residents fighting over deer culls continued during this week’s town council meeting, as people commented on the cull and called for civility from both sides.
The focus of contention at Monday’s Town Council meeting was the creation of a fund to receive donations for deer management. Much of the Town Council supported passing the ordinance on first reading, but Member Charles Costanza declined to vote in favor of waiving the rules to do so.
In the meantime, the permit for sharpshooters to reduce the deer population, which was schedules to begin Nov. 26, is delayed until Dec. 11, pending a Natural Resources Commission pre-hearing conference on Dec. 6 in Michigan City. The hearing’s in regard to a petition filed by residents Nov. 28.
The council continued with the donation fund to designate contributed money for deer management. “It keeps the money out of the general fund so we can’t use it somewhere else,” Town Council President Allen Johnson, Ward 1, said.
The town had donations for processing venison from the last deer cull for local food shelters. Donations could fund ecological reports, deer processing or tick control, and could be tax deductible, Johnson said.
Under the ordinance, the council can reject contributions with stipulations.
Other town matters came into the cull arguments.
Greg DePorter, Plan Commission Chairman, said during his department report that Costanza’s contention that the city pulled a permit for a retaining wall he was building was false.
In a list of talking points, Johnson said the cull isn’t about ticks but ecological preservation. Deer are eating the undergrowth, destroying new plants and aging the forest, and the 58 deer in the area are above the eight-to-20 experts recommend.
One resident said the town hasn’t had a controlled burn for forest renewal in five years.
Resident Bernadette Slawinski, compared unfavorably Ogden Dunes’ cull efforts to a presentation given to the town from University of Chicago urban planning graduate students Monday night.
The town doesn’t have a budget or a plan, which is the reason the residents are torn apart, Slawinski said.