AMITE — Discussions need to take place that could expand the Tangipahoa Mosquito Abatement District to include areas outside Tickfaw, Independence and some rural areas of the parish, the Parish Council decided Monday.
Council members in areas outside the district said their constituents have asked about being included.
Dennis Wallette, director of mosquito abatement, said in 2001, voters generally south of Tickfaw approved a 5-mill tax to create the mosquito abatement district, adding the efforts have been highly successful. Wallette said the number of cases of encephalitis and West Nile disease have been reduced to the point that, last year, not a single case of encephalitis was reported in the treated areas.
Wallette said any talk of expanding would have to begin with the mayors of Tickfaw and Independence. He told the council that when the district was being formed, both mayors and the town councils of those communities chose not to be included, citing the belief that many residents did not want to pay any more taxes.
“If other areas want to join us, we would welcome them once all the details have been worked out,” said Dr. Darryl Bubrig, chairman of the district board.
Councilman Carlo Bruno said that he would prefer that no new abatement district be formed. Instead, he would favor a system where residents of areas favoring protection could contract with the district now in operation to provide the spraying and other practices used to control mosquitoes.
”When it comes to protecting people’s health and even their lives, then it’s a no-brainer,” Councilman Louis Joseph said. “We are going to work hard on this and bring the people some relief.”