Abatement front

Voters will hit the polls Saturday to determine the fate of two new mosquito abatement districts, funded by a $3 fee, initially proposed by Maurice 'Scooter' Keen of District 3 and Garry 'Frog' Talbert of District 2.

The fee would have a 10-year renewal period, and the Parish Council removed the parts of Denham Springs that rest inside the district as the city already provides the service.

The revenue would fund a new mosquito abatement district in each of the parish councilmen's representative areas. Initial estimates show a combined, roughly, $350,000 in total would be collected for both districts. Monies would be spent toward study, utilities, employees, equipment, and chemicals.

The expenses listed for the two districts are:

  1. Salaries of four, full-time employees – based on costs of the former Livingston Parish program – would run the districts $135,000 annually
  2. Benefits would cost $75,000 annually
  3. Laboratory testing would cost the district $10,000 annually
  4. Consumable supplies would cost $75,000 annually
  5. Utility expenses would cost $25,000 annually

Talbert said the districts would not do flyover spraying unless 'absolutely necessary,' which would cost the districts $42,000 per application.

The services provided would be: 

-- Sampling and testing, which will allow the district to spray based on actual need, not just random spraying.

-- Education, which would involve a public education program that would be used by civic groups, educational instructors and homeowner’s associations.

-- Prevention, which will include studies to determine impacted areas of flood mosquitoes, identification of breeding grounds and legislative assistance to correct deficiencies.

-- Treatment, which would include the application of larvicides and pesticides.

-- Individual services, which would involve response to individual complaints, surveys of residences and identification of problem areas, along with corrective action and recommendations for corrective spraying around the area.

The election has already drawn heavy opposition on social media and with signs planted throughout Districts 2 & 3. Both councilmen are pushing the abatement program for health reasons, while opponents believe the creation of new districts is just 'another tax' and that neither area needs to be sprayed.

In response, both councilmen set up an informational meeting at Live Oak High School in which they made a presentation on the program and fielded pre-written questions.

While a partnership between the Livingston Parish Clerk of Court, Registrar of Voters, and the Livingston Parish Library brought a satellite voting precinct to the Denham Springs-Walker Branch of the library to spur more participation in the election cycle, the effect didn't take hold - at least for early voting.

198 voters hit the library to cast their opinion before the election. The two districts have 19 precincts with 18,922 registered voters with the following demographics:

PARTY

Democratic3,56518.8%
Republican9,80951.8%
Other5,54829.3%

RACE

White17,75393.8%
Black5262.8%
Other6433.4%

GENDER

Male8,744
Female10,178

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