Mt. Lebanon residents continue to express concerns about the possibility of a deer cull in the municipality.
A public hearing addressing the proposed 2013 municipal budget, held Tuesday during the commission meeting, drew a full house, with many in the audience voicing opposition to any money going toward killing deer.
At this point, the version of the budget recommended by municipal manager Stephen Feller does not include any provisions for a deer cull.
The structure of the recommended budget is based on "service level rankings," which rank items in order of priority to municipal operations. The two items related to a cull, including a deer density survey, fall below the priority items targeted for financing.
Nevertheless, several residents spoke against the concept.
"I'm against any form of the use of discharging lethal weapons," said Stacey Chick of Sleepy Hollow Road, who warned of the dangers of using rifles in high-density residential areas.
During a previous cull, she said, shots were fired "within a few yards of people's homes. I don't know how anyone would consider that to be safe."
Ms. Chick also questioned the long-term effectiveness of killing deer as a preventive measure.
"You're still going to have incidents," she said. "People are still going to complain. It's not going to go away."
Among Mt. Lebanon commissioners, Kristen Linfante of Ward 3 is the only one pushing for a deer cull, citing safety concerns caused by the high population of the animals in the municipality.
The recommended budget does call for a deer management education program to teach effective strategies to members of the community.
The commission also approved a bond issue with a maximum of $4.8 million to pay for improvements at municipal recreation facilities. Ward 2 Commissioner Matt Kluck, who had opposed taking on more debt, voted against the measure.
The municipal swimming pool is targeted for a $3.3 million face-lift, including renovations to the bathhouse and installation of an entry that does not require having to step down a ladder or stairs.
Of the remainder, $500,000 will go toward improvements at the municipal golf course and $730,000 is earmarked for Robb Hollow Park and public works facility upgrades.
The Robb Hollow allocation appealed to some at the Tuesday meeting.
Kathleen Hrabovsky, a member of the municipal environmental sustainability board, praised the direction of the park as a "passive recreation" area and said she supports a plan to relocate a composting facility from the park to another part of Mt. Lebanon.
Parking in the Beverly Road commercial district will be free on Saturdays. The commission voted 3-2 to exclude the metered parking requirement on that day. The change applies to 96 parking spaces, including 49 in the parking lot off Overlook Drive.
Ward 5 Commissioner Kelly Fraasch, who opposed the measure, said she has heard that operators of businesses along heavily traveled Washington Road planned to ask for equal consideration.
Bill Lewis, a former member of the now-defunct Mt. Lebanon Parking Authority, also cautioned against the Beverly Road change. He cited a potential $12,000 annual revenue decrease, along with the Washington Road reaction.
David Brumfield, commission president, supported the measure.
"I think Washington Road is different than Beverly Road," he said.
Harry Funk, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.