LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Two Livingston Parish Council members are at odds over whether the parish should even have a mosquito abatement board.
"I don't want a mosquito abatement board in Livingston Parish," said Councilman Shane Mack. "That is totally ridiculous," Councilman Keen "Scooter" Maurice added.
Late last year, the Livingston Parish Council decided it would turn its nine-member board into the Mosquito Abatement District Board as well.
Councilman Maurice said the decision was made after the state contacted the council saying, "We need y'all to look at re-introducing or re-starting a mosquito abatement program because we think since the flood and different things and the waters have changed in the woods, that you guys are going to be ground zero for West Nile in Livingston Parish."
So, instead of being reactive, council members wanted to be proactive. But, Councilman Mack said the nine-member board is in violation of state law.
"You can only have a five-people board. Therefore, we should have never created the board in the first place without getting our legislators to change the law first," Councilman Mack explained.
Councilman Maurice said the board has not met as the mosquito board and members are in talks with their senator to change the law from five members to nine members.
But even beyond that, Councilman Mack said he simply wants the mosquito board abolished. The council members are not getting paid for the extra load and Livingston Parish residents are not paying for the board. But, Mack said having a board means they will eventually come up with a mosquito abatement program for the parish and he is against that.
"When you try to treat a parish as big as Livingston Parish, it would take so much money to truly make a difference that we would not be able to afford it and I do not think we can afford it," said Councilman Mack.
He added all his constituents in the Albany area are against spraying and it's not safe.
But, Councilman Maurice said he just wants a plan in place if needed and it would have to go before the taxpayers, regardless. He added that last year alone, they had four West Nile cases in the parish, which changed a four-day-old baby's life. His mother spoke up at their last meeting.
"She said, 'My son, at four days old, was diagnosed with Neuroinvasive West Nile disease and he is blind in one eye and he has debilitating learning issues,'" Councilman Maurice recalled.
The meeting is at the Livingston Council Chambers on Thursday, March 8 at 6 p.m.. Five votes in favor of abolishing the board are needed in order to get rid of it.