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Wyoming County supervisors shoot down rifle resolution


By Matt Surtel

Published: Wednesday, June 10, 2009


WARSAW -- A measure which would have allowed big game hunting with rifles in Wyoming County was turned down on Tuesday.


The Board of Supervisors voted 1198-82 against the resolution. Larry Rogers of Pike and John Copeland of Wethersfield were the only supervisors voting in favor.


The resolution was proposed earlier this year after the Wyoming County Wildlife Federation asked its respective organizations to survey members about using centerfire rifles for deer hunting.


It cited the state's initial ban on rifle hunting more as a matter of conservation than safety, since deer population was in a steep decline over the late 19th and 20th centuries.


The state Department of Environmental Conservation also estimates the statewide deer population at 1 million and becoming problematic, the resolution reads. Rifle-caliber handguns have been used for deer hunting in the county for many years, and if a person has a DEC nuisance deer permit.


That means rifles can be used in Wyoming County for most of the year except during big game season, the resolution reads. Few, if any, incidents were reported in counties which have allowed rifle hunting over a one-to-three year trial period.


Supervisors still had their qualms. Jerry Davis of Covington said he didn't think it was a safe idea, given the county's population density.


Chairman Douglas Berwanger of the Board of Supervisors likewise said he owned a farm and acreage in Arcade and worries about the safety.


In other action:


n Supervisors approved a resolution urging the state Assembly, Senate, governor and Board of Elections to authorize the continued use of lever-style voting machines.


The resolution was proposed as a solution to expenses county taxpayers have incurred through the purchase of electronic voting machines through the federal Help Americans Vote Act.


Berwanger said hidden costs have included purchase of a special "air-ride" trailer to transport the county's 20 electronic machines to locations throughout the county, along with the extra work the county's Information Technology staffers have assumed while transporting and maintaining the new machines.


Supervisor Joseph Gozelski of Castile noted the older machines could be kept in cold weather and other conditions, and weren't as environmentally sensitive as the electronic voting units.


Davis said each electronic ballot costs 50 to 60 cents to print.


n Supervisors passed a resolution supporting the creation of a proposed sewer district along Route 19, just north of the Village of Warsaw.


The town and village are in negotiations for the potential district that would be installed along the highway, out to the Valu plaza. Supervisors cited the potential economic development which could result, through the increased contributions of county property and sales taxes.


The supervisors also support the town's request for a sewer rate of 1.5 times the village's existing rate.


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