Taneytown resident Gail Ansari asked the City Council last night to financially support her effort to kill the troublesome starlings that have been roosting in her Fairgrounds Village neighborhood for several months.
Ms. Ansari seeks money from the city to purchase Starlicide, a slow-acting poison, for farmers to place around their livestock buildings during the winter when the birds seek refuge in barns.
"The starlings are spreading disease to farm animals," Ms. Ansari said. "The overwhelming number of starlings is an imbalance of nature."
Ms. Ansari has been compiling information on how to deal with the thousands of birds since she brought the problem to the attention of city officials during last month's council meeting.
She received information from the state Department of Agriculture that led her to Starlicide, which area feed store operators have agreed to stock for local farmers.
A 50-pound bag of the pellets costs $69.50 and will last about three weeks, Ms. Ansari said. The poison will be most effective if it's placed on farms by December, when the birds are foraging for food.
Ms. Ansari said the project has support from area farmers, who complain that the birds are as much a nuisance to them as to the city residents.
One farmer told Ms. Ansari that the excessive amount of bird excrement is killing his calves, she said.
The council said there must be another way to deal with the birds.
Councilman Henry C. Heine contended that roosting places must be moved before the problem can be solved.
"Killing the birds, in my opinion, will not solve the problem," Mr. Heine said. "The roost still exists. You've got to move the roost."
"What do orchards do?" Councilwoman Jacqueline Polk said. "They must have the problem, too.
The council declined to take action last night. Members said they want to get more information and hear from local farmers before they decide what to do.
In other business, plans for a city skate park were shelved last night until the council gets more information about insuring and developing the skating facilities.
The Local Government Insurance Trust, the city's insurance company, told city officials that their policy would cover medical expenses of injured skaters up to $100,000 per incident, but would not pay for medical expenses resulting in permanent damage or for litigation resulting from skating accidents.
Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr. said officials would get information from Ocean City on how that town handled insurance for its skate park.