The North Royalton City Council unanimously adopted legislation at their March 3 meeting which will cut the Municipal Deer Damage Control Permit fee in half. Previously, the fee was $150 and thought by many to be too high, prohibiting hunters to participate in the program.
As in previous years, Police Chief Ken Bilinovich gave City Council an update on the 2019 deer season statistics at the January meeting of the Council Safety Committee. At that time, Ward 4 Councilman Jeremy Dietrich stated that he thought the cost of the hunting permit should be reduced. “They are doing a favor for the city,” he noted, regarding the reduction of the deer population. Not only do hunters have to pay the fee, but also bore the cost of obtaining an archery proficiency certification. In addition, the homeowner/renter must carry an insurance policy indicating personal liability insurance coverage of at least $100,000.
The Safety Committee member asked Bilinovich to provide information relative to the cost of operating the Deer Damage Program. Before he did that, they drew up two pieces of legislation, the first amending the ordinance that requires a yearly certification, changing it to every four years from the date of filing Deer Damage Control Permits. The second piece of legislation would change the fee to $30 for North Royalton residents; $50 for non-residents and free for both residents and non-residents that are honorably discharged veterans, national guard, reservists and active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Public Safety Officers, or First Responders.
Both pieces of legislation were placed on the City Council Safety Committee and City Council February 18 meeting agendas. On the legislation, At the Safety Committee meeting, which took place before the Council meeting, Bilinovich said that it costs the Police Department $55 in overtime every time the officer goes to inspect for a Deer Control Permit. In addition, there were other costs involved, including the cost of his secretary reviewing the information needed to issue the permits. He recommended a flat rate, as it would take even more time to allow for the confirmation of those seeking the no-fee option. He also noted that “it should, at least, pay for itself.” Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz did not approve the cost or the zero fee. “I won’t live with $30 or $50. If you pass it like it is right now, I will probably veto it,” he said. He added that he would not accept anything under $75.
Council further discussed the measure and withdrew sponsorship from the legislation that would change the certification rules. They then amended the other ordinance to make the fee $75, which is a flat fee across the board. That amended legislation was then adopted.
Contributing Writer