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Longboat Key Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010 7 years ago

Commission's reaction frustrates Key resident

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Emerald Harbor resident Weldon Frost believes the Town Commission wasted his time and made a mockery of a raccoon presentation he made at the Nov. 18 regular workshop.

Frost wants help controlling a raccoon population he believes is getting out of control. He sent an e-mail two weeks ago to Town Manager Bruce St. Denis outlining his concerns.

“It is time for the town to eliminate, eradicate, re-settle, remove, transport or export these creatures, who are both a nuisance and a menace,” Frost wrote. “They are a nuisance because of the messes they make and the piles of manure they leave behind. They are a menace because of the diseases they carry — not necessarily limited to rabies.”

At the workshop, Frost asked the commission to spend $1,200 to hire a company to capture raccoons for a week to see if the town has a problem.

“I haven’t seen a bird in Joan Durante Park in months,” Frost said. “I suggest to you that we have a serious problem.”

But several commissioners didn’t consider Frost’s perceived problem the way he would have liked.

Before the commission responded seriously to Frost’s request, they joked about ways to control the raccoon population.

Commissioner Hal Lenobel suggested the town pass out condoms to the raccoons or let them read an ordinance to see if they would be willing to comply.

Commissioner Robert Siekmann suggested the raccoons be drowned in hot tubs.

And Vice Mayor Jim Brown suggested the town bring in some bald eagles to take care of the problem.

“I thought some members of the Town Commission were rather rude to me, and I don’t think I was fairly well served,” said Frost after the meeting. “I put a lot of effort into this and was encouraged by the mayor and town manager to come forward. I feel that my time was wasted.”

During the meeting, the majority of the commission made it clear the town shouldn’t get into the pest-control business.

“We have a rat problem in Bay Isles and we hire a company to take care of it monthly,” Mayor George Spoll said. “If we were to start eradicating nuisance animals, where does it stop?”

Commissioner Phillip Younger agreed.

“I don’t feel the town needs to be getting into this business,” Younger said. “My daughter hates snakes. Are they next?”

Siekmann agreed, explaining that the only reason the town gives the Longbeach Village Association $2,400 each year to get rid of peacocks is because the birds are an exotic species that was brought to the island years ago.

Siekmann said his Land’s End condominium association pays $1,000 per year to manage the raccoon issue in his neighborhood.

Brown and Commissioners David Brenner and Lynn Larson, meanwhile, expressed empathy for Frost and the raccoon problem.

“Raccoons are a miserable problem to deal with, and it’s only going to get worse,” Larson said. “We need to do something about it before they are sitting on top of the Town Hall roof.”

Frost still believes the town has a problem on its hands.

“This is really a property issue,” Frost said. “The town has parks and property that raccoons live on. If the raccoons bite me and diminish my quality of life, that’s the town’s problem and not mine.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].


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