Dry Weather keeping mosquito population down, fire threat up
In his monthly report to commissioners’ court, Patrick Beebe said the adult mosquito activity was low, moderate and high depending on the location. The dry weather has kept the mosquito population down this year in most areas of the county compared to last year. In May he received 48 requests for service. June only brought four requests for same.
This time last year, Beebe said he was asking commissioners for $100,000 in additional funds for aerial treatments and $6,000 for payroll hours to implement those treatments.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Beebe.
“I just hope the public remembers that whenever we do have a bad mosquito month. They have to realize the weather controls it, not Orange County,” said County Judge Carl Thibodeaux.
“We’re having a low period right now, but all it takes is one tropical storm or one good rain event to come in here with some high tides and we’re guilty again,” said Beebe.
Larval development currently is low to normal, and no disease activity has shown up in the tested areas.
The rain this weekend also did not affect the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) for Orange County according to Jeff Kelley, the director of Emergency Management. He said rain measured about a tenth of an inch. “The 14 day outlook actually looks worse than it did last week.” He didn’t recommend any action by the court yet as fire responses have not increased. He said it’s dry but there is a lot of humidity and not very much wind. “We get the combination right and it’s going to flare up.”
Currently Kelley is still taking a wait and see position and keeping a very close eye on the index.
In other business, under advisement of the of the Assistant County Attorney Doug Manning, commissioners unanimously took action declaring that, with respect to the current collective bargaining negotiation with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Court determined the deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the court with respect to the collective bargaining unit.
“I believe it’s in the courts’ best interest to deliberate in closed session,” said Manning. He sent a letter to the county judge declaring that determination to satisfy the requirements of the open meeting law, which also required the unanimous vote of commissioners present. Commissioner Precinct 4 Jody Crump was absent at Monday’s court session.
They also approved the hiring of two part-time positions for the parks department to fill vacancies. Donna Scales, director said both employees are leaving to attend school.
The court also voted to accept a Road Damage Bond from Line Energy.
Lisa Reeves, director of the Management Information Systems (MIS) reported to commissioners that in addition to her department’s regular duties they have also been working on the Web sites for Orange County and the Orange County Convention and Expo Center. They are also working on instillation of PCs and Laptops for the Sheriff’s Office and Social Services. MIS also helped with the installation of the AWOS computer at the airport. An updated county computer policy and a social network policy are completed and will be an agenda item for approval in the near future.