LIVINGSTON – The mosquito abatement program could return to two unincorporated areas after the Livingston Parish Council voted 8-1 to form two districts that would consider steps for its reinstatement.
The vote paved the way for District 2 Councilman Garry “Frog” Talbert and District 3 Councilman Maurice “Scooter” Keen to form the district and consider a plan to fund the program.
Keen and Talbert would serve on the five-member board, along with two appointees and a mosquito abatement expert.
The two councilmen opposed the measure March 22 that eliminated the parishwide board the council established less than six months earlier.
“We thought a parishwide system would be better and get us away from the police jury system, but we have a diverse parish, so what works in one area of the parish may not work for another,” Talbert said.
The proposal drew opposition from District 4 councilman John Wascom, who had supported the abolition of the board in March.
Reinstatement of the districts would violate rights of the residents who oppose it, he said.
“Should we support a government-run mosquito abatement program, we make supporters happy, and those who do not want this product or chemical exposed on their family property, their pets or their children get it forced upon them against their wishes – and to top that off, it’s like adding injury that we make them pay for it,” he said.
District 9 Councilman Shane Mack, who spearheaded the elimination of the district in March, voted in favor of the bill, but said he had not changed his thoughts on mosquito abatement.
He said the council should leave the decision up to the district.
“If that’s what they want, I say we support them,” Mack said.
Talbert hopes to assemble the committee and hold the first meeting before the end of spring.
He wants to study funding mechanisms and a plan for implantation before they bring a proposal to voters in the two districts.
“Before we ask for that, we will be able to tell everyone where the money goes and what it will provide,” Talbert said. “If they vote for this fee, they’ll know what they’ll get.”