County requests over $143,000 in funding for mosquito control
An intergovernmental meeting was held in Harrisburg last Monday to discuss plans in filing for available funds to assist in the eradication of the West Nile Virus.
Poinsett County Judge Bill Craft met with elected officials from Marked Tree, Trumann, Harrisburg, Waldenburg, Weiner, and Lepanto. The group discussed the county proposal of $143,087, for funding from the $1 million in emergency funding released by Gov. Mike Huckabee from the Disaster Fund to combat the West Nile Virus in Arkansas.
Representatives from the Health Department, the University of Arkansas Extension Agency and the Office of Emergency Management were present to answer any questions the public officials had about the virus.
Craft began the meeting by explaining that the deadline for filing the countywide request was Aug. 21. He also told them that the funds were available only for insecticide chemicals that control larvae and education about the virus, not labor or equipment expenses.
Susan Brewington, from the county's Health Department, said that the Health Department had ordered educational posters to distribute from the three offices.
Rick Thompson, from the U of A County Extension Service, told attendees that the "southern house mosquito was the primary carrier of the West Nile Virus, not mosquitoes from rice fields." He said that stagnant water, such as old tires and birdbaths are the major problem.
After discussing several types of chemicals available, both the extension service and the health department recommended Bti-type larvicides, a bacterial larvicide, which kills mosquito larvae.
Marked Tree Mayor Lawrence Ashlock said that the city of Marked Tree has been spraying adulticide nightly and draining ditches and will be setting a date for a citywide tire pickup. He requested $24,000 to add larvicide to the city's current mosquito-control program.
Lepanto City Clerk, Tamara Wyatt, attended the meeting for Mayor Dale Dunlap, and told attendees that Lepanto sprays Aquareslin, an adulticide, four nights per week. They are also enforcing the city ordinance that prohibits tall grass, old tires and the accumulation of junk in yards. Lepanto requested $12,000, and proposed to use received to purchase larvicide to be used in conjunction with their current spraying of adulticide.
Tyronza Mayor Drexel Gill was not in attendance nor available for comment; however the town does not have a current mosquito control program. Tyronza did request $15,000 of the available funds.
Trumann Mayor, Jack Coggins, said Trumann is currently putting out larvicide three times a week, and requested $35,000 to continue to do so.