Livingston Mosquito Abatement workers leaving
DENHAM SPRINGS - Livingston Parish Mosquito Abatement could close its doors earlier than expected since workers are leaving for other jobs.
It's no secret that mosquito abatement in the parish will cease to exist sometime in the next year when money runs out. Mosquito Abatement Director Jeanine Tessmer says that's why employees are setting their sights on new jobs.
"As I lose more people in the daytime, there are just certain parts of the operation that we're going to have to cease doing, because I don't have the personnel to do it," she said.
Livingston Parish has had three West Nile cases so far this year. Tessmer expects that number to increase when spraying is stopped.
"Your chances are going to increase and it's more likely that you will get bit by a mosquito that's infected and therefore become ill," she said.
Tessmer says she's actually encouraging her employees to seek other jobs. One employee has already left, another has found a job and will leave in a few weeks and a third employee had a job interview yesterday.
"I don't want to lose anybody," said Tessmer. "I would like to say that they're all going to be here until the very last day when we lock the door, but I cannot expect anybody to stay around knowing full well that one day we will lock the door and the next week there will not be a paycheck."
Mosquito abatement is down to only six full-time employees and nine part-time drivers. Tessmer says she will have to shuffle workers around to keep the mosquitoes at bay for now.
The department tried to tack a fee onto property tax, but voters struck it down twice. Tessmer expects the money to run out sometime in 2015.