Clewiston commissioners say ‘no’ to raising mosquito control fees

Commissioners approved a resolution to apply for a low-interest loan through the State Revolving Fund at the beginning of their regular meeting on July 21. The loan will help pay the cost of rehabilitating the main lift station and is not to exceed $900,000.

Commissioners also approved an agreement between the city and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to improve the sidewalks near the elementary schools.

The project will rebuild sidewalks from W.C. Owen, just south of the train tracks, up toward Central Elementary School and is paid for entirely by the FDOT grant.

However, the city will be responsible for all maintenance costs in the future.

Addressing the Public Works Department’s need for a new garbage truck, commissioners approved a bid award to purchase a new front-end loader that can be used for both commercial and residential garbage pick up. The new truck will replace a 1999-model truck which, along with other old models now in circulation, cost the city upwards of $50,000 in maintenance each year.

The new truck will be purchased using funds set aside by the Public Works Department for such events and will cost around $300,000.

Next, commissioners discussed a possible $1 increase in mosquito control fees per month for city residents. Public Works Director Scheffler said the increase would be necessary to continue mosquito control in the city for longer periods of time. Scheffler said his department began spraying for mosquitoes in February 2014, nearly five months sooner than previous years. Scheffler blamed the warm, wet winter the area experienced beginning in 2013.

Scheffler also warned that the department has six to eight weeks worth of treatments left in its current budget.

However, commissioners were not convinced that raising the fees would result in better mosquito control. Instead, commissioners asked Scheffler and his staff to call around to other neighboring counties to see if the city is controlling mosquitoes as efficiently as it could.

Commissioners and Scheffler also agreed that better coordination with the county’s mosquito control efforts would positively effect the city’s control.

City Commission meetings are held on the third Monday of each month inside the commission chambers at Clewiston City Hall, with a workshop held on the preceding Thursday. Both meetings and workshops begin at 5 p.m. unless otherwise advertised. The community is welcome to attend each month.

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