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SOUND &TOWN Serving Mamaroneck & Larchmont Vol. 15/Number 14 April 5, 2013 Trustees: Cancel USDA contract By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER The ongoing conflict over the fate of the Village of Mamaroneck’s goose population took an unexpected turn on March 27 when Democratic trustees Ilissa Miller and Andres Bermudez-Hallstrom requested that the board cancel its contract with the USDA to slaughter the geese and start fresh to find a more humane solution to the problem. The issue has caused significant controversy in previous weeks and the village has drawn criticism from animal rights activists since the contract was made public. However, the decision to slaughter the animals has also received support from residents who are just now voicing that sentiment. “If we do this in a way that allows homeless people to be fed, I think that’s a great idea,” Resident Brett Moeller said. “We kill fish to eat, we raise cows to be killed. We’re doing this a lot more humanely than anyone could imagine.” Moeller also said that he plays softball in Harbor Island Park over the summer, and that goose droppings are a health hazard. Roseanne Aresty, who was on the Board of Mamaroneck Junior Soccer League for 10 years, also contacted the Board of Trustees via email, and said that the problem of goose droppings in Mamaroneck has only gotten worse over time. “The goose population has grown exponentially, and the harbor is literally covered in a carpet of goose deritus,” Aresty said. “It is dangerous and filthy. We come home from playing a soccer game, and our cleats and clothes are completely covered in thick goose poop.” Despite support for slaughtering the geese, trustees Miller and Bermudez-Hallstrom both stood firm in their views and said that there are ways to negotiate with the USDA that may or may not result in a cancellation of the contract. At the very least, the provision that called for the slaughter of the animals seems to have divided the board. “I don’t think killing [the geese] is going to solve the problem,” Miller said. “This needs to be managed from a short term and a long term perspective.” Miller said that the board should leave it up to the USDA to decide if it wants to work with the village, and if a compromise can’t be reached, the board should start fresh and look for entirely new alternatives. The contract was signed on Dec. 14, 2012, four days after Miller and Bermudez-Hallstrom took office. The village was given 120 days, until April 13, to cancel or reach a mutual agreement with the USDA to abandon the plan completely. “I was satisfied with a compromise to request that the USDA strike the part of the agreement that said they would execute the geese,” Miller said. One issue that the board is considering, as the deadline for the out clause draws near, is the potential legal ramifications of canceling the contract, after the 120 days has passed. “If you have a valid signed contract as a municipality, you’re bound by the terms of that contract,” USDA continued on page 13 Play Ball! Rye Neck senior Matt Franks throws a pitch in the Panthers’ April 1 season opener against Woodlands. Franks struck out 10 batters in 5 innings in a lopsided 17-1 win over the Falcons. For more, see page 15. Photo/Bobby Begun Village trustees debate rogue decision-making By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA STAFF REPORTER The Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees recently took a closer look at what the responsibilities its elected officials should and should not be after it was agreed that Trustee Leon Potok, a Democrat, took initiatives that were outside of his responsibilities as an officer of the village. On March 27, the board criticized Potok for his decision to contact Dr. Stephen J. Garber, an expert in wildlife managemet, regarding a humane alternative to the USDA contract to slaughter the village’s geese. According to Deputy Mayor TRUSTEES continued on page 14 The Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees had a public discussion about what the responsibilities of elected officials should be after Trustee Leon Potok contacted Dr. Stephen J. Garber for an alternative to the village’s agreement with the USDA to slaughter geese. File photo Proposed Larchmont budget to raise taxes 2.5% By ALEXANDRA BOGDANOVIC STAFF REPORTER The Larchmont Village Board of Trustees unveiled a preliminary budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year on Monday night that calls for $16.8 million in general fund expenditures and reflects a 2.49 percent tax rate increase. Mayor Anne McAndrews, a Democrat, began a brief budget discussion during the board’s regular meeting by saying that the village is facing a “major increase” in pension costs. A closer look at the preliminary budget reveals that those costs are expected to jump by $260,726, or roughly 18.1 percent, in fiscal year 2013-14. Retirement costs alone will total roughly $1.7 million and account for 10.7 percent of the total expenditures. The board has no control over mounting pension or health insurance costs, McAndrews said. Health insurance costs alone will cost the village nearly $1.5 million in the upcoming fiscal year. As shown in the preliminary budget document, the cost of “total fringe BUDGET continued on page 6 Award-winning Newspaper Published weekly

Sound and Town Report 4-5-13

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