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Solebury hiring sharpshooters to manage deer culling


Solebury has decided to bite the bullet and let professional sharpshooters deal with its ever-increasing deer population.
The board of supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a $199,000 contract in next year’s budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to manage the culling of 1,000 deer in the township.
An additional $85,000 to $90,000 will be paid by the township to process the deer meat and distribute it to those in need.
Under the contract, USDA officials will monitor the project, oversee the shooters, make sure the shooters kill as many deer as they claim, and deal with neighbors, said Dennis Carney, township manager.
A second bid for $311,000 was rejected.
Police Chief Dominick Bellizzee requested 2022 funds for a high-water vehicle, saying police “had a terrible time in the storm (Hurricane Ida) getting anywhere for emergencies.”
“There were certain areas, such as Carversville, we couldn’t get to,” he added.
“It’s going to happen again,” warned Supervisor Noel Barrett, a Carversville resident.
Both Barrett and Chair Mark Baum Baicker, also a Carversville resident, favored such a purchase. The board will discuss the 2022 budget at its Thursday, Nov. 4 meeting (postponed from Nov. 2 due to the election).

A high-wheel vehicle would cost from $54,000 to $60,000, the chief said.
The board also heard from resident Joseph Varone of Shetland Drive who wanted the board to ban all Airbnb B&Bs short-term rentals in the township.
He noted that Princeton has banned all short-term rentals, adding there is plenty of hotel space in Lambertville, N.J.
Varone’s request, he said, was prompted when people “smelling of alcohol” from a nearby B&B came banging on his front door at 2 a.m. insisting he let them in. On his refusal, they went to the back door and the same thing happened, he said.
In other matters, Baum Baicker reported that while masks are still required in the municipal building and hybrid meetings ­– Zoom and in-person – are still the norm, “it is our hope to get back to normal as soon as possible.”
But the problem, he said, is “the Bucks County COVID numbers continue to persist at a very high level.
“As of (Monday, Oct. 18), he said, the seven-day average of new COVID cases in Bucks County stood at 153, virtually the same as it was two weeks earlier and still more than a fivefold increase over three months earlier. During the past two weeks there were 31 COVID deaths in Bucks County, so we are certainly not there yet.”
In other business, Kurt Leasure was appointed to the Land Preservation Committee to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Irene Biel for a term ending Dec. 31, 2021.