Voters weigh in on millage renewal that funds St. John’s mosquito abatement

Published 12:14 am Saturday, October 27, 2018

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish voters are being asked to renew a 10-year, .48 millage on Nov. 6 — earmarked to continue funding a Parishwide Mosquito Abatement District.

The money generated, estimated at $200,340 yearly, funds much of the District’s mosquito response and prevention efforts.

Parish water bill payers also kick in a monthly $2.75 service charge, which generates funds for mosquito control; however, 25 cents of that monthly fee is redirected to the parish’s animal control efforts.

Parish President Natalie Robottom said the millage funding is vital to public safety and health in St. John.

“We really need it,” she said. “I would hate to see what it would be like if we didn’t have a program.”

According to Robottom, the money generated from the millage and water bill fees is used to pay a professional services contract with St. John Mosquito Control, which services the parish from its Airport Road headquarters in Reserve.

“They have traps throughout the parish that collect mosquitoes,” Robottom said. “They test, and that is how they make the determination whether or not West Nile or the potential for West Nile is in the parish. They analyze these traps on a regular basis, and that determines where they spray or if they spray more.”

Robottom said our Southeast Louisiana location means lots of swampland and plenty of rain, creating a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes, which leads to the state’s No. 1 ranking in regard to recorded occurrences of West Nile infections.

“We need a program that addresses on a regular basis the spraying, tests for the possibility of cases of West Nile and then treats for them,” she said. “They are not going to eliminate mosquitoes, but I hesitate to think what it would be if we didn’t have a program.”

According to information provided by the St. John the Baptist Parish Assessor’s office, a .48 millage costs 45 cents for a $150,000 property with a homestead exemption, 89 cents for a $150,000 property without a homestead exemption, $1.35 for a $300,000 property with a homestead exemption and $1.80 for a $300,000 property without a homestead exemption.

“We do want people to know how important it is,” Robottom said.

“A lot of times they don’t know. They don’t know mosquito control goes out before all the football games and covers the field. It’s done the day before. They don’t know that we send them out before special events, like Night Out Against Crime, and they do massive sprays for events like the Andouille Festival, where they sprayed two nights in advance.

“They don’t know that we use them for our Veteran events and even private events that are large. If they call us, we’ll send a truck out in preparation. Our goal is safety and protecting our residents.”

The millage renew would start generating funds in 2019 and continue through 2028.