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Archery hunting proposal for Genesee County Park put on hold

BATAVIA – A proposal to allow archery hunting in Genesee County Park and Forest was sent back to committee Wednesday after Genesee County legislators expressed concern about safety.

The legislators voted to table the plan that would permit hunting in order control the deer population at the park, which is located in the town of Bethany.

Park officials contend that an overabundance of deer has affected efforts to manage and sell its timber.

“While I support hunters and hunting, and I recognize the need to do something to control the deer population, I am concerned about the safety of the public,” Legislator Michael Davis said. “The plan calls for hunting from sunrise to noon ... I can’t support it.”

Lawmakers Andrew J. Young and Edward DeJaneiro Jr. agreed with Davis, with the latter offering to include an amendment that gives the park superintendent the ability to restrict public access where hunting would be taking place.

After brief discussion and acknowledgment that there were too many unanswered questions about the plan, the legislature – acting on DeJaneiro’s motion – put the proposal on hold.

In other action, the legislature approved a request from Sheriff Gary T. Maha to send 14 members of his department to ceremonies next month at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The contingent will honor the late Frank Bordonaro, a Genesee County sheriff’s deputy who died in his sleep at the age of 44 last year. Bordonaro’s name will be added to the monument’s wall on May 13 and another observance is scheduled two days later.

Legislators were unanimous in their support for county-financed travel for Undersheriff William A. Sheron Jr. and a four-person honor guard and two escorts. However, Chairman Raymond F. Cianfrini voted against sending seven additional deputies, who will be using county vehicles and will be getting paid during the trip.

“I understand your desire to recognize your brother-in-arms, but I’m hoping you will understand that as an elected count official I have to do what I think is right,” said Cianfrini, speaking to several of the officers who attended Wednesday’s meeting. “There are liability and other issues.”

Cianfrini said he was confident that Maha has made arrangements for law enforcement coverage during the deputies’ absence but could not endorse the request for the additional deputies to a function where no county business would be conducted.

The trip will cost the county about $2,400, he said.

In other developments, the legislature:

- Voted to support a bill in the state Senate and Assembly to allow municipal courts the power to impose civil penalties upon those charged with underage drinking who fail to appear in court and disregard sentences imposed.

The bill would authorize town and village justices to impose fines or require defendants to complete an alcohol awareness program or engage in community service.

Davis, a former Darien town judge, said the measure is needed in light of ongoing problems with underage drinking at Darien Lake Theme Park concerts. The push to enact such as law was initiated about nine years ago by Darien Town Justice Gary A. Graber, who attended Wednesday’s meeting and thanked lawmakers for their support.

- Granted permission for the Genesee County Land Development Corporation to apply for a New York State Community Development Block Grant from the Office of Community Renewal that could bring an additional $750,000 in funding to Batavia shoemaker P.W. Minor.

Legislator Andrew J. Young, P.W. Minor president, excused himself from the meeting room while the resolution was being read and abstained from voting.

email: citydesk