When discussing the city of Mentor's Deer Population Management Program and its cost, City Manager Kenneth Filipiak offers two caveats.
One, there is no way to know for sure what it will cost until they have committed to the program for an entire year.
Two, the city will need to spend some money to make this effective.
"You have no choice but to devote a certain amount of resources to this problem (of deer overpopulation) or the problem does not get better," Filipiak said.
With that having been said, Filipiak said the program will cost the city about $100,000 next year.
Now, for Mentor's expenses to make sense, some explanation of its deer management program is necessary.
The program has five parts: educate the public on the dangers of deer overpopulation; get an accurate count of of the deer population in Mentor and its distribution; start a traffic-safety program that focuses on avoiding crashes with deer; legalize regulated hunting; and use sharpshooters from Mentor Police Department to cull deer herds.
Not all of these projects are finalized. While Mentor City Council voted to legalize bow hunting this year (by a 5-2 margin,) the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has not yet approved the city's proposed culling program.
Filipiak is hopeful the approval will come sooner than later.
"The ODNR likes our approach," he said, adding, "I'm aware of no other urban municipality that has taken on a culling effort with its own personnel."
By using existing staff, the city of Mentor has tried to limit the program's cost, Filipiak said.
About $50,000 goes to pay the salaries of three part-time natural resource specialists in the Mentor Parks and Recreation Department who oversee the entire program.
Meanwhile, Filipiak expects the city to expend another $25,000 on equipment and overtime for police involved in the sharpshooting part of the plan.
Filipiak added that most deer culling would be done during regular hours but, sometimes, overtime might be necessary.
The final $25,000 would go to the cost of processing the culled deer.
The city manager stressed that these figures were estimates that could change.
"Until we get out there in the field and see how easy or time consuming it is to reach certain deer-reduction levels, we won't know exactly how much it costs," he said.
Filipiak also said the program is a long-term commitment and, if the city stopped trying to manage the deer population, the deer's numbers would quickly rebound.
"I don't see the cost of this program going down in the future," he said.
As a point of comparison, . That comes to $611 per deer.