LIVINGSTON – Discussion of mosquito abatement, which became a divisive issue for Livingston Parish in recent years, will resurface during a special meeting – but not for a tax proposal.

The Parish Council will host an informational meeting on mosquito abatement at 5 p.m. Feb. 22, prior to its regular meeting.

An entomologist and other officials from LSU will address the public on options to combat mosquitoes once temperatures rise and rainfall continues.

The officials will discuss the need for mosquito abatement and explain why Livingston Parish could become a target area for mosquitoes, District 2 Councilman Garry “Frog” Talbert said.

He said officials from LSU have warned him that Livingston could face a very active mosquito season, largely because the parish does not frequently spray, unlike the surrounding parishes, including East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana and Tangipahoa parishes.

LSU offers grants for startup money to help communities without mosquito abatement, he said.

Talbert proposed a nine-member board last summer that would consist of the entire Parish Council, but state law allows only a five-member board, he said.

“I wanted it that way so that every part of the parish would be represented because ultimately we have to find a funding source for it,” he said. “If you don’t have every area represented, you won’t have a chance at people supporting it.”

Mosquito abatement proposals will not go before voters this year, but Talbert said the parish will look at startup funding to begin protection.

A move last fall to explore options on another tax drew lukewarm responses from council members who expressed doubt over the chances on a proposal that has failed twice with voters.

The fee renewal under the previous funding mechanism – a $30 fee per utility meter – failed in 2013 and 2014. The service had been offered since 2004.

The ill-fated vote on the second attempt led to the abolition of the abatement district within a year, and the sale of surplus equipment to the cities of Denham Springs and Walker, and the Town of Livingston.

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