By Kathryn G. Menu
Jeff Sander was appointed mayor of the North Haven Village Board Tuesday night, taking on the one-year term at the helm of the village board left vacant with the resignation of Laura Nolan in April.
Sander, 71, was re-elected to a fourth, two-year term as trustee in June alongside his running mate Arthur “Jim” Laspesa as members of the North Haven Party.
On Tuesday night, Sander named North Haven Village Board of Architectural Review and Historic Preservation chairman James Davis to serve a one-year term as trustee to ensure a complete village board.
Davis has lived in North Haven for 13 years, and has been a member of the ARB since 2005. He is also a member of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department.
On Monday, Sander said the village board collectively discussed potential candidates for appointment, and Davis emerged the strongest candidate.
“Everyone felt very strongly he would be an excellent candidate and will do very well on the village board.”
According to Sander, both his mayoral term and Davis’s term on the village board will be for one year, with both seats up for public election next June.
Sander, admittedly, was unsure if he would seek a fifth term in two years as a village board member, but said on Monday once the opportunity to serve as mayor arose it was a challenge he was eager to take on.
“The responsibilities are quite different,” he said. “Laura did an excellent job while she was mayor, but I plan on delegating more responsibilities to the board as a whole in an effort to get them involved.”
In particular, noted Sander, the board will be rolling up its sleeves — with the help of the community, he hopes — in looking at how to counter a growing deer population, and therefore more reports of tick borne illnesses by residents.
Following discussions last summer about the potential implementation of a 4-Poster deer management protocol, the North Haven Village Board assembled a committee to research all options for deer and tick abatement.
According to Sander — who chaired that committee — the report should be available next week, with intentions by the village to distribute the report online in advance of its August meeting. Sander hopes that meeting is largely dedicated to a community-wide discussion about deer and tick abatement options.
“It’s our goal to have as much community input as possible,” he said. “This is a major health issue and I think everyone realizes that. It is not always easy to address. Every time you look at potential solutions, there are many pros and many cons.”
Sander said the report essentially points to two viable options — a significant cull of North Haven’s deer population and the use of a 4-Poster deer management system.
The 4-Poster deer management system was studied on Shelter Island and on Fire Island starting in 2008, with North Haven serving as the control in that research, conducted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.
The 4-Poster devices target tick hosts directly, using corn bait to attract white-tailed deer to a feeding station. As deer feed, rollers treated with a pesticide called permethrin brush against the animal’s neck, head and ears.
According to officials in Shelter Island and with the Cornell Cooperative Extension, they believe the devices did in fact reduce tick populations. Shelter Island deployed about 60 units during the three-year-study, but in recent years reduced the number of devices — which cost about $5,000 each to maintain — to 20.
In an interview with The Express last week, Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he believes that as a result of the reduced number of 4-Posters on Shelter Island there has been a surge in the tick population once more.
Municipalities — and only in Suffolk County with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) — must not only purchase the devices and corn feed, but also maintain them with trained professionals.
Sander said he believes the decision and the cost to implement 4-Poster deer management in North Haven is one the community needs to make as a whole.
“We cannot do this without village residents getting involved,” he said of both the potential use of 4-Poster and a significant cull of the herd. “We need community involvement and we need funding.”
The August meeting of the North Haven Village Board will be held on Tuesday, August 6 at 5 p.m.