Ridgefield Deer Committee Minutes for September 29, 2004


In attendance: Tom Belote, Penny Hoffman, Andy Bodner, John Borger, Helene Daly, Pat Hutchings, Matthew Denesuk, Peter Keeler, Jack Sanders, Lee Pepin, Sid Kelly, Ray Sementini, Patricia Sesto, Guy Bochinno, Tom  Castellani, Tom Venus, and Gwen Thaxter


Also in attendance: First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Major John Roche, Tom Falconieri


Welcome and Introduction



Tom Belote welcomed the committee members, gave an overview of the formation of committee and reviewed the charge. At Mr. Belote's request, committee members introduced themselves and the organization or interest they represent.




Issues and Interest


Patricia Sesto requested members offer their specific issues and interests they believe the committee needs to address. Issues and interests stated are as follows.

. Recognize there is a problem, search for solutions

. Provide public education on deer related issues

. Seek the public's input, understand their knowledge base

. Familiarize ourselves with hunting regulations

. Educate the public on the reasoning behind our decisions

. People are tired of deer browse

. Monitor the number of complaints regarding deer that come into town hall

. During the period of 1999 through 2003, Ridgefield averages 66-68 deer v. car incidents a year, 5 accidents had injuries

. 129 dead deer reported each year. What is the relationship between speed and incidence of deer hits

. Brain wasting disease

. Is it legal to feed deer

. Carcass disposal of road kill

. What have other towns done

. Contraception

. Lyme disease

. Solutions


III. New Business


Decision Making Process


Sesto offered her opinion regarding consensus as the decision making process. She supports this process because it fosters greater participation, the group's decisions are less likely to be undermined, subjects are more fully investigated, the discussion process can't be shut down by demanding a vote. Consensus does not equate directly with unanimity, it means that all participants agree to support the group's decision, understanding of the decision does not require agreement with it.


Much discussion ensued regarding the feasibility of 19 people using consensus and the ability to move forward. The group agreed to go forward with consensus as their decision-making method.




Andy Bodner suggested the group should produce a report within 6 months. Discussion followed regarding the logistics of arranging speakers, coming up with conclusions, writing by committee, length of the report. Matthew Denesuk offered that the frequency of our meeting will also influence the overall time it will take to create a final report. He suggested more frequent meeting to keep the overall time frame short. Others thought 6 months plus time for writing was likely


The group agreed to target 6 months for completion, meeting twice a month. Meetings will be held on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Monday.


Peter Keeler will try to secure an appropriate meeting room at the Recreation Center.


Meetings will be 90 minutes long, 7 - 8:30 p.m.


Gwen Thaxter asked if the public has chance to speak at the meetings. It was agreed that a public comment opportunity needs to be included on the agenda.


Group Organizaiton


Tom Belote and Pat Sesto were supported as the co-chairs. A secretary is not needed per se, just a recording secretary. Rudy Marconi agreed that his office would cover the cost of hiring a recording secretary. Peter Keeler offered to check with the employees at the Rec Center. If that does not yield any results, Marconi will check in town hall.

Next Agenda


Several ideas were offered for the upcoming meetings. The grou] wants reports and surveys from area towns. Speakers Howard Kilpatrick, Kirby Stafford, the Lyme Disease Task Force, Friends of Animals, Dr. Georgina Scholl of Redding, and a Greenwich representative were suggested.


Next meeting will be Tuesday, October 12th at 7:00 p.m.