In the Matter of MOSQUITO ABATEMENT PUBLIC MEETING)

7-19-07

2:30 PM

       Commissioners Ghan and Whitworth held a public meeting regarding establishing a temporary interim mosquito abatement district.  Commissioner Hadley will join the meeting later.  There has been no written comment at this time.  Also present Election Administrator Peggy Jardine, Adam Chambers from the Idaho State Journal, Nisha Gutierrez and Darin Black from Channel 6,  Road & Bridge Dave Herter, Ed Marrug and Steve Pew from the Southeastern Idaho Health District and Alyssa Chinn and Jeff Robinson with Channel 8 and Rhonda Miller taking minutes.  Oral testimony was given.

       Ed Marrug, Director of the Southeastern District Health Department, which covers 8 counties of southeast Idaho, stated that they were notified that the first West Nile Virus animal case tested positive in this area in a lama.  Human cases are being noticed across the western part of the state and we will probably start seeing positive mosquito pools in this area soon.  No positive cases in this region as of today. 

Marrug went on to testify in favor for the formation of a temporary interim mosquito abatement district in Bannock County.  He stated that they cover he has watched as West Nile Virus was introduced into this country back in the 1990's, seen it grow across the country and finally arrive in Idaho with a last year.  There were 100 human cases in Bingham County and it has struck counties to the west of Bannock County.  This virus is a disease that only severely impacts 1 in 150 people that it strikes, it is devastating to those who become severely impacted.  There is no vaccination, antibiotic or magic cure and the only way to fight the virus is to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.  That means that there needs to be a multifaceted approach to avoid the virus.   The most important approach is educate the public that they need to take responsibility through use of repellants, long sleeve shires and avoiding activity out doors when mosquitoes are active.  The next approach is to have an abatement district that approaches mosquito control through an integrated pest management strategy.  This district can be very effective way to control mosquitoes and keep the population down remembering a abatement district, even with the most sophisticated efforts and technologies, will never eliminate all mosquitoes.  However, a district allows a county to put the infrastructure in place in order to monitor through trapping as to where the populations are and are increasing.  They can see what kind of species of mosquitoes there are and have the populations reached such a level that it warrants control measures such as aerial application in order to keep the biting population down.  The district would utilize larvicide's to knock larval populations down before they become adults and it would utilize measures to deal with facilitating drainage of areas of stagnant water conductive to breeding mosquitoes.   Another important aspect is that he does not believe that West Nile Virus will be the only vector-borne disease that will come into the United States, or Idaho, from another part of the world.  This has been seen with other vector borne disease, such as Dengue Fever, which arrived in the US with the arrival and accidental import of the Asian Tiger mosquito.  We will see other exotic diseases come to Idaho.  Let's get the infrastructure in place now in order to deal with West Nile as well as any other future vector borne diseases that may end up in our area.  In public health, we have strongly advocated for the formation of abatement districts for years.  We continue to strongly support it.

       Commissioner Ghan stated he appreciates the help and support the Health District has given.  Commissioner Ghan questioned how much the State will be able to put into this effort?  Marrug stated that the State has worked with Health District's to get education in place and the State does contract with different abatement districts around the state to help put surveillance and trapping of mosquitoes looking for the West Nile Virus.  Commissioner Ghan questioned what monies if any would be available?  Marrug stated he doesn't know but the County would have to declare an emergency to receive any funding.  Commissioner Whitworth questioned in the mean time are we going to be able to get any more traps and equipment from the State.  Marrug stated that he believes  State is limited. 

       Bannock County Road & Bridge Dave Herter stated that they continue to do trapping and surveillance to send mosquitoes to the State to be tested for West Nile.  Since the last meeting it is much warmer and the number of mosquitoes in our traps has increased.  There is a lot of standing water around the County that needs to be addressed and by declaring an abatement district will help get that done.  This will allow to apply larvicide's into waterways, holding ponds and swamps that legalities stop us from doing this now.  When the fogging applications start coming, we won't be dealing with the chemical trespass law if we have this abatement district.  By putting in this district it will help make the job more efficient.   Commissioner Hadley questioned if Dave has talked to property owners?  Herter stated that he has talked to many property owners and they have been very supportive.  Commissioner Whitworth questioned the danger of fogging and larvacides.  The larvicides in the water will not hurt children, animals and bee hives etc.  They will be fogging at 9:00 p.m. at night or early in the morning so the bees should be in there hives.  Other counties have much success with this systems.

       Commissioner Ghan stated that to establish an interim district we have to anticipate putting this matter within the next year or two before the voters. 

       Election Administrator Peg Jardine stated that this is an off year for our election.  They talked to the cities and they would like for the county to handle the election for the abatement district.  Jardine expressed that she would like to see this on the November, 2007 election.  The cities are in agreement to have the County handle the election.  Commissioner Ghan questioned the expense for this to happen?  Jardine stated it could cost us some money because the cities only budgeted what their elections are.  Residents will just vote on the abatement district and city residents will vote on city issues and the abatement district.

       Commissioner Ghan stated that there will be additional costs because the cities will need to put this on the ballot.  We want to form the district this fiscal year.  The November election will be the cheapest way to go. 

       Commissioner Hadley made a motion to form a temporary mosquito abatement district .  Commissioner Whitworth seconded which passed.  Commissioner Hadley made a motion to put this on the November election ballot.  Commissioner Whitworth seconded which passed unanimously.  Hearing adjourned 3:10 p.m.