City workers, trucks mobilized against mosquitoes

Morgan City Mayor Frank "Boo" Grizzaffi

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

City officials plan to mobilize city mosquito spraying trucks to combat mosquito issues, which are expected to save about $40,000 per year in mosquito control costs, after approving a contract to hire a consultant to oversee the program.
The council approved a mosquito control contract Tuesday with Mosquito Surveillance & Control Consulting to oversee the city’s mosquito control while city workers will provide the labor, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said.
Cajun Mosquito Control has been supplying the city’s mosquito control service for the past two years, and has continued to spray though the contract expired in October, Grizzaffi said.
Though the city has not had any problems with Cajun Mosquito Control’s service, making mosquito control city-run could save the city about $40,000 per year, Grizzaffi said. The city has done its own mosquito control in the past, but stopped because the city did not have any certified employees to be able to continue the service, he said.
Matthew Yates, owner of Mosquito Surveillance & Control Consulting submitted a mosquito control plan for the city.
The city will pay the company $25,500 under the contract, and Yates will also use a contract employee. “He would monitor the activities of the people here on the ground,” Yates said.
The Town of Berwick uses a similar arrangement to spray for mosquitoes, Grizzaffi said.
The resolution passed by a 4-1 vote with Mayor Pro-tem Louis Tamporello being the lone dissenting vote.
Tamporello said he is concerned that the city will have to train workers and “start all over” by going to a city-run mosquito control system. Tamporello also wanted to make sure there would be no interruption in service, he said.
Yates said training of city workers will begin immediately and within a month workers will be ready to start mosquito control work. However, training will still continue after the initial phase, Yates said.
Councilman Ron Bias said the city should try city-run mosquito control in an effort to save money, especially with recent rate increases in other departments.
Councilman James Fontenot said continuing to raise utility rates in the city is a concern for him, he said. “For me, it all comes to finances,” Fontenot said. Saving money by using mosquito control equipment the city already has makes financial sense, he said.
The contract also allows the city to buy the chemicals needed under Yates’ license, Grizzaffi said. City workers from several different city departments will handle mosquito control and operate the city’s mosquito spraying trucks, Grizzaffi said. Those city workers are the ones who have operated the mosquito trucks when the city previously handled its own mosquito control service.
Yates said the contract is a great opportunity for the city to take over its mosquito control system. “It’s a situation where I want to work myself out of a job after a couple of years, get people trained here so you can do the job yourself,” Yates said.
Jesse Boudreaux, owner of Cajun Mosquito Control, said state law requires mosquito control workers to have four years of training under a licensed mosquito control professional to take the test to get certified.
Boudreaux understands that cities need to save money for the taxpayers, but he and his employees are familiar with the specific areas that need to be targeted for mosquito spraying in the city, he said.
Boudreaux will be on standby for the city if the city chooses to privatize its mosquito control again, he said.
Yates has trained mosquito control employees in several states and is past president of the Louisiana Mosquito Control Association, Texas Mosquito Control Association, and American Mosquito Control Association. Yates does consulting work for St. Mary Parish, and is retired.
Yates wants to have all employees “ready to go” by March or April when the peak of mosquito activity begins, he said.
“We’ll be intensively working on the problem until we get the employees trained,” Yates said.
The company will spray whenever needed, Yates said. Once Yates provides training and guidance to the city, the city’s mosquito control program should eventually become self-contained, he said.
In other business, the council:
—Approved a system survey and compliance questionnaire.
—Approved submitting a fiscal sponsorship grant proposal to the Community Foundation of Acadiana to benefit the Fallen Warrior Memorial Project.
—Approved Grizzaffi to the board of directors of the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority, and City Utilities Director Bill Cefalu as alternate director.
—Approved a resolution for LA Contracting Enterprise and architect Carl Blum to make necessary repairs to the Lake End Parkway cabins at no expense to the city.
—Approved a Cannata’s Pump Station change order and substantial completion of the pump station.
—Approved a 2013 Budget Amendment ordinance.

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