The Weston Board of Selectmen discussed the following items at its meeting on June 21.
Animal Control Officer Mark Harper spoke about efforts to control the population of coyotes in Weston. He said he plans to submit a detailed coyote-control plan to the Board of Selectmen later this summer. It would provide a monthly history of the calls Harper goes on as well as a town-wide map showing just where attacks on dogs and cats have taken place — and close calls with people.
Harper said the coyote population typically goes in cycles because they often succumb to diseases, injury and to other predators.
“Now, all of the towns around us are having problems with coyotes, and some of the bigger cities, too,” Harper said.
“There used to be a closed season for hunting coyotes, in the spring and in the fall. Now, because of the problems they’ve been causing, you’re able to hunt coyotes the entire year. However, you’re not able to trap them without a special permit.”
Harper does not intend to eradicate the coyote population, but wants to control it. He focuses most of his control efforts on eliminating sick or injured animals. “I don’t kill puppies, period,” he said.
“I’m kind of a dying breed,” he said. “There are not many animal control officers in the state that deal with wildlife, especially in the variety that I see. So this is one thing I want to bring before you properly. It may be necessary to take this to a town meeting. I want you to have complete confidence that what I’m recommending is the right thing to do for the town,” he said.
Preserving the past
The selectmen approved a motion calling for the town to apply for a state grant for repairs at Coley Cemetery. Connecticut’s Neglected Cemetery Account grant program is run by the state’s Office of Policy and Management, and assists with the maintenance of neglected burial grounds and cemeteries.
Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz said that in a walk-around he recently took at the cemetery, that there was little “neglect” in evidence other than a few downed headstones. The $2,000 grant being applied for requires approval from the town, which the board provided.
“It would be nice to have,” said First Selectman Christopher Spaulding. “The only thing I’d like to say is, the fact that we’re applying for this grant does not mean we neglected our cemetery.”
Appointments and resignations
The board approved the reappointment of Lynn Burrell as town historian and Rone Baldwin as a member of the insurance advisory commission.
The board accepted the resignation of Suzanne Friedman as Weston Social Services program assistant. Friedman’s resignation took place on June 15.
The board accepted the resignation of Ellen Jones as assistant town clerk, effective Aug. 31.
The board took no action on a proposal to create a 501(c) nonprofit to act as a tax shelter for Weston residents. After the federal government put a $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes that can be itemized on an individual’s tax return each year, many municipalities in the tri-state region began exploring this option as a way to restore some of that tax deductibility.
However, the IRS has not approved such an option as a legitimate tax deduction. Creating such a fund could create problems for residents if the IRS disallows their deductibility in the future. “People end up having to pay fines and penalties, and we don’t want them to be in that spot,” said Spaulding. “That said, I do want people to know we are vigorously looking into this and any other ways we can mitigate the impacts [of the new tax rules].”