Mentor City Council voted for an ordinance that gives the city administration permission to pursue the permits needed to get a Deer Management Plan approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Council passed the resolution 6-0 during its meeting Tuesday at City Hall. Councilman Bruce Landeg was excused from the meeting.
Specifically, the resolution allows the city government to pursue a deer damage control permit and all other permits needed for a Deer Management Plan.
The aforementioned plan does not inherently have to include deer culling. However, if the city did want to cull the white-tailed deer in Mentor, it would need a management plant that was approved by the ODNR.
The proposed ordinance says the city wants reduce the risk to public safety, minimize property damage and halt the loss biodiversity and habitat caused by deer overpopulation.
The ordinance adds that the city is reviewing its options and those options include educating the public, improving traffic safety and reducing the herd via hunting or culling.
"You're not committing to any particular item," Mentor City Manager Kenneth Filipiak said to Council before the vote. "Until you actually approve a (Deer Management) Plan, we wouldn't assume authority to implement anything."
Mentor City Council President Scott Marn also stressed that the vote was the beginning of a process, not the end of one.
Two Mentor residents talked about deer management at the meeting. Elaine Foster encouraged Council to explore nonlethal methods to address the growing herd size.
"I would like to have Council consider alternatives," she said. "I, for one, would like to see options other than culling -- perhaps, birth control."
Meanwhile, Carole Clement noted that deer sterilization had been illegal in Ohio for almost 20 years. She also said that birth control could not address free range herds such as the ones in Mentor.
Also at the City Council meeting:
- Council approved the funds to refurbish the 72 golf cars in the city's fleet.
The cars are four years old and they all need new batteries and tires, Parks and Recreation Director Bob Martin said. Some also need new windshields and seats.
Martin said they can extend the golf cars' lives another four years by refurbishing them and it will save the city more than $100,000 when compared to buying new cars.