- Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 22:59
- Published on Tuesday, 13 March 2012 22:59
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After nearly three months of effort, the Westmoreland ordinance has been amended in a manner that promises to facilitate eradication of local coyote populations.
The nuisance predators have been reproducing at alarming rates in recent years and pose increased dangers to domestic pets, livestock and native wildlife. Prior ordinance language prohibited use of anything but shotguns to control the stealthy predators. Rifles can be lawfully used hereafter, although state laws continue to prohibit the shooting of predators with anything
but shotguns on Sundays and during deer hunting season.
The much talked about amendment to the local ordinance was the subject of an advertised public hearing immediately prior to this Monday evening’s Board of Supervisors action. County Administrator Norm Risavi opened the discussion with an explanation that the amendment was formulated in response to widespread concerns. The limited range of shotguns had made it all but impossible to control the shy and fleet footed nuisance animal.
District 2 resident Linda Morris addressed the Board in support of the amendment, advising that inadequate control of coyote populations hamper residents’ ability to keep ducks, chickens and turkeys.
Multiple hunters expressed concern that deer populations will decline sharply if coyotes continue to reproduce without appropriate controls.
Bill Alverson repeated the recent account of a pack of coyotes felling and devouring a wounded deer before the hunting party could overtake their injured prey.
“If you want to get rid of deer, let the hunters get rid of ‘em,” said Alverson. “Don’t give ‘em to coyotes!”
The amendment became effective immediately.
A second set of amendments advertised for March 12 public hearing and subsequently adopted concerned reimbursement of expenses incurred in response to DUI and other traffic accidents or incidents. The amendments bring local ordinance into compliance with state law, facilitating and expanding the jurisdiction’s ability to collect punitive fees from individuals who are convicted in the courts.
The third public hearing subject was a set of amendments to the fee schedule associated with the jurisdiction’s emergency ambulance/transport services. That schedule has been previously revised when changes were made to Medicare and private insurance reimbursement rates. The locality supports half of the emergency transport costs and special accommodations are available to uninsured residents who cannot afford to pay the costs they would otherwise incur.
County Administrator Norm Risavi advised that Medicare and insurance reimbursements generate approximately $692,000 per year. Weekday emergency rescue services are publicly funded between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with volunteers delivering the program’s evening and weekend services.
According to Risavi, the average transport costs $692 and the average reimbursement is $310. All three sets of amendments were unanimously approved.