Mosquito program criticized

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The Acadia Parish Police Jury’s Mosquito Control Committee was not scheduled to meet Tuesday night, but that didn’t stop Bill Maples of Estherwood.

“We have a severe mosquito problem in Estherwood,” he said Tuesday night at the conclusion of the Solid Waste Committee meeting, the last of three committees to convene that night.

“I’ve never seen it this bad in the 20 or so years that I’ve lived in Estherwood,” he continued. “I lived in Cameron – right on the water – and it was never this bad.”

Maples told jurors present for the various committee meetings that, in his opinion, the current mosquito control program is not working. “We’re intelligent people,” he said. “We should be able to beat these little mosquitoes.”

Maples claimed that areas of Estherwood were seldom sprayed and, when they were, the spray trucks were exceeding the 15 mph limit at which spraying is most effective.

But jurors defended the parish’s mosquito program administered by Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc.

“All of their trucks are GPS-monitored and we have documentation that shows where each truck is and when,” said A.J. “Jay” Credeur, juror.

“Sure, we could spray the parish (aerially) and that would probably knock (the mosquitoes) down, but that costs money,” he continued. “Then what do we do next week when they’re back? What do we do in a month when we have an epidemic?”

Richard “Dickie” Latiolais, jury secretary-treasurer, added that MCCI currently has 10 trucks in the parish spraying twice daily when weather permits. “They’re doing all they can do,” he said.

“Well, it’s not working,” Maples answered. “You might as well take all the money you’re spending on (mosquito control) and spend it on something else, like roads, because what you have here isn’t working.”

Jurors told Maples that Glenn Stokes, owner and CEO of MCCI, is expected to attend Tuesday night’s full jury meeting and invited the Estherwood resident to attend.

In a surprise move during the earlier Roads and Bridges Committee meeting, Chairman Dale Trahan withdrew an agenda item which would have had members consider declaring equipment used in the Road Department’s chip sealing program surplus, opening the door to sell the equipment, that despite the fact that the chip seal program has been on hiatus this year.

No explanation was offered for the withdrawal of the item.

Later, during the Solid Waste Committee meeting, Robert Hebert, supervisor at the Acadia Parish Sanitary Landfill, expressed frustration at his inability to acquire new equipment for use and the landfill.

Committee members Credeur and Julie Borill (David Savoy was absent) were considering a request from Hebert to lease a new dozer for use at the Egan-based facility.

“We’re spending a fortune on repairs” to the two dozers being used there, Hebert said, adding that each of the machines have more than 10,000 hours of use. He said he hoped to get rid of one of the old dozers with the acquisition of a new one.

But Credeur questioned the need for two dozers at the landfill, saying that he and other jurors recently had visited the landfill in Jeff Davis Parish and “they have one dozer and one compactor and they take in 10 times the garbage daily that we do.”

Credeur insinuated that maintenance – or lack of – was the problem at the Acadia site.

“Why can’t I just get an upgrade? The Road Department gets new equipment like that,” Hebert said with a snap of his fingers. “I’m always here begging. I’m tired begging and I’m not going to do it any more.”

When Credeur said the Road Department’s equipment is better maintained, Hebert answered, “They’re not in the environment we’re in.”

He continued, “For the past 28 years we’ve never kept a dozer for 10,000 hours. They never got more than about 7,000 or 8,000. Now all of a sudden since I’m here (as supervisor), we keep them.”

After some discussion, Borill and Credeur agreed to recommend that the full jury consider leasing a larger dozer for the landfill and doing away with the two currently in use.

Hebert was given a week – until the full jury meets next Tuesday – to come up with specifications for the new dozer.

Prior to the start of the committee meetings, the full jury – with Savoy and Alton “Al” Stevenson absent – accepted the lone bid of Discovery Oil and Gas Properties, LLC, on the lease of 11 acres of parish-owned property located on Lafourche Road.

The company will pay a one-time cash payment of $200 per acre – or $2,200 – plus $1,100 annual rent and 25 percent royalties each on oil, gas and “other liquid or gaseous minerals.”

In other committee action, the Airport Committee will recommend:

• Presentation of a five-year Capital Improvement Project Priority Listing plan for LeGros Memorial Airport to the Aviation Section, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, and to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Roads and Bridges Committee will recommend:

• Calling two public hearings, one to consider the abandonment of Triad Road and one for the abandonment of Perry Road.

• Authorizing the president to sign Supplemental Agreement No. 1 to the Contract for Engineering Services between the jury and Aucoin & Associates for the Fabacher Road Bridge Replacement project.

• Authorizing the advertisement for bids for the Fabacher Road Bridge Replacement project.

The Solid Waste Committee will recommend:

• Entering into an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Rayne for the placement of a public-access roll-off container at the city barn for debris generated by the citizens of Rayne.

• Approval of a request by SLEMCO for a right-of-way for electrical lines at the parish landfill.

The Building and Grounds Committee was to consider a request from Kenneth Privat to purchase the former Rice Museum. However, due to a lack of quorum (Savoy and Stevenson are committee members), that committee could not meet.

The full jury will meet to consider these recommendations at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the third-floor meeting room of the courthouse in Crowley.