Manila Council considers mosquito control

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Town Crier News Staff

Tim A. Nelson, supervisor with Vector Disease Control, Inc. (VDCI) in Blytheville, addressed members of the Manila City Council at the meeting held Thursday. Manila Mayor Clifford Veach introduced Nelson who distributed pamphlets about the company and the work being done by VDCI.

Nelson said the company has mosquito control contracts with the city of Dell, the city of Blytheville and Nucor.

"Our goal is to reduce the mosquito problem by 80 to 90 percent," he said.

Several traps, including one at Councilman Davis's yard, have been put out in different locations to get an idea of the types of mosquitoes in Manila. Nelson said the variety of mosquitoes found included one of the West Nile type with the majority being the same as throughout the area.

"We have a lab located on the old air base and a biologist on hand to test mosquitoes and keep up with data from each area," Nelson said.

Nelson explained a fly over of the city would determine mosquito-breeding pools. The company uses a combination of methods to control mosquitoes including traps, trucks and aircraft. All VDCI trucks and planes are equipped with GPS systems.

"I personally go see anyone who has a complaint," Nelson said. "We also do service requests. If someone is having a party and they call, we will spray for them. We also spray before football games, baseball games, holidays, or other events."

Nelson said the product used is very safe.

"We want to help folks, not cause problems," he said. "We try to be as safe to the people and environment as possible. Blytheville was pleased with our service and recently signed a 10-year contract."

Nelson estimated a flyover spray for the city of Manila would be $960.

"It might not hurt to have a fly-over," Mayor Veach said.

Nelson said he would be glad to run traps before the flyover and check the results.

Councilman Dwight Booth asked an estimated cost for a full contract. Nelson said the full contract would be about $65,000. As part of the contract he would give a full report of service requests, complaints and overall mosquito control to the council every month.

After some discussion, council members agreed to consider Nelson's proposal.

Council members unanimously voted to hear a second and third reading of the city's annexation ordinance. City Attorney Wayne Wagner read the ordinance by title only and it was approved by council.

Wagner said the annexation would be effective when everything is filed. He said citizens living in the newly annexed areas should be voting in the city for the first time in November. Those in the annexed area will vote in Ward 21 B.

"I will turn this into the clerk's office and if it is different, I will report back you to," Wagner said.

Mayor Veach had spoken with Buffalo Island Water representatives about changing the newly annexed areas from rural water to city water.

"They do not want to give up the water services in the area," Veach said. "I wrote to the chairman of the commission and got a letter back saying if they didn't want to sell there is nothing we can do. He did offer to set up a meeting."

Veach said there are some other residences in the city on rural water, also.

"If we are going to look at the newly annexed area, we need to look at the whole city and try to take care of all of the residents," Veach said. "I'm not giving up on this."

Manila Chief of Police Jackie Hill updated the council on property clean-up, loitering, and controlling the loud vehicle problem.

Hill said a couple of notices for property clean-up had been refused.

"I've ordered door hangers," Hill said. "We have two in court. One of those is looking pretty good and the other has made progress. Several arrests and fines have been issued on loud noises."

Mayor Veach said there are steps the city can take when a resident refuses notices.

Councilman Dean Cherry reported a property needing attention.

Hill said there are not as many loiterers hanging out at the depot and they seem to be doing a better job of picking up after themselves.

Mayor Veach asked the council if they had any objections to looking into having the city ordinances codification work done locally.

"I know you voted last month and we were looking at having it done by the municipal league," Veach said.

Veach said he thought it might be able to be done locally. He asked for a little more time to look into the possibilities.

"If someone here in town can do it, I would prefer that," Veach said. "It is something that needs to be done."

The council agreed to allow Mayor Veach the time to look into the project further.

Mayor Veach informed the council he, Chief Hill, and Attorney Wagner went Wednesday to a mediation hearing on former Manila police officer Joni Isebell's claim.

Wagner said the mediation lasted about two hours and 20 minutes and by the end of it, the two parties were not close to agreement.

"Based on what was stated at the mediation, we don't feel the city is libel," Wagner said. "Basically we left the door open for a counter offer. Pending a counter offer, I don't think anything will happen."

Attorney Wagner informed the council that Kevin Jolliff had come to his office (as city attorney) with a proposal about having the dent in his truck fixed by the Dent Doctor for $250. He also requested expense money to get to Memphis or have a city employee follow him there.

Jolliff addressed the council at the last two monthly meetings telling the council members his truck was damaged by something being thrown from the city mower. He was driving by the Herman Davis Monument park when he said the side of his truck was dented and scratched. Jolliff presented three estimates at last month's meeting ranging from $741 to over $1,000. Council members took no action on his request.

Councilman Linda Donovan asked Jolliff to give them time to meet and discuss the matter further. Jolliff agreed to the delay but said he wanted to get his truck fixed next week.

In other business:

*The council voted unanimously on the annual millage rate for the city at 4.0 which is the same with 3.6 mills for maintenance and operation and .4 mills for firemen pension fund.

*Voted unanimously to purchase advertising in the amount of $300 as a sponsor for the 75th Mississippi County Fair.

*Veach informed the council he had not received an estimate to review the city flood zone.

"We can make a decision once we get that," Veach said.

*Veach said on the sewer damage claim the check had not been picked up.

"I told them the check was ready and they would need to sign a release," Veach said. "I have not heard from them."

*Councilman Donovan asked if anyone had talked to Ritter about the lines being too low across the street near the cemetery. Attorney Wagner said it would need to be resolved before harvest season.

*Mayor Veach informed the council the city had won another drawing from the Mississippi County Farm Services and will receive about $3,300 from them. This is the second year Manila won the drawing. The money will go to the airport.

*Fire Chief Jerry Hitchcock submitted a name for a new member of the Manila Volunteer Fire Department. He asked the council to consider Ed Bishop. He said he lives in Farmers Subdivision and was on the Blytheville Fire Department for four years.

"He has a lot of certifications," Hitchcock said. "He has been coming to the meetings."

Members of the fire department voted to submit his name and the council voted unanimously to add Bishop to the fire department.

*Mayor Veach said the city had a good 2005 audit report. There were only three minor items to be replied to.

*Veach said he had not heard any more on the grant application for a new fire station.

The Manila City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the third Monday night of each month at Manila City Hall.

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