JDPJ votes to put mosquito tax on November ballot

JENNINGS — The Jeff Davis Police Jury on Wednesday voted to put the renewal of a mosquito control property tax on the Nov. 18 ballot.

Mosquito Abatement District Director Robert Tonn said the 10-year, 12-mill tax is used for maintenance and operations. It generates $2.5 million a year.

“We actually operate at 7.85 mills,” Tonn said, noting that 12 mills is the maximum set in case of a bad hurricane season or a disease outbreak.

As of June the district has submitted 146 mosquito pool samples and everything came back negative. Statewide, 175 mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus, Tonn said. Of those, 61 have been reported in the last week.

Most of the money is used to pay for spraying and offering the service to the public, he said. The tax also provides salaries for the district’s eight full-time and 15 part-time employees.

The district maintains nine spray trucks, two airplanes and three utility task vehicles. The trucks are replaced every 10 years, or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first, Tonn said. There are no plans to expand the fleet.

Part of the tax proceeds are used for maintenance of 21 light traps, which are used to monitor mosquitoes throughout the parish.

“If the tax did not pass and we are not funded for any further service, then mosquito control drops,” Tonn said.

“If you don’t think this particular service really helps, just take a ride in one of our neighboring parishes that do not offer this service, then realize how much it means to the residents.”

Mosquito control has been provided parishwide since the district was established in 1979.

Three other tax renewals will be on the Nov. 18 ballot. They include a 10-year, 1-mill tax for Extension Service maintenance and operations, including the county agent and 4-H offices. The tax will generate $214,640 a year.

Parish voters will also be asked to consider renewal of a 10.77-mill tax to provide support to local public schools — including salaries, transportation needs and utilities. The tax will generate $2.3 million a year for the parish’s 13 elementary and secondary schools.

Voters in Ward 11 Road District 11, excluding Elton, will be asked to decide on the renewal of a 10-year, 11.58-mill maintenance tax. It will bring in $104,800 a year.

The taxes are all covered by the state’s homestead exemption law.

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