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Mosquito money still a problem in Livingston

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DENHAM SPRINGS- As the end of the Mosquito Abatement program nears in Livingston Parish, current director Jeanine Tessmer is working hard to secure funding that could keep the program alive.

"We will not be spraying in 2015 and that's going to allow the mosquitoes to grow in the numbers that will be here and it could mean it's going to be a greater risk in the parish for diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes," said Tessmer.

She wants to get the parish to back an idea that would send some funding from the Parish Health Unit's dedicated millage into mosquito abatement, since protecting the parish against mosquito borne diseases would also be considered a health risk.

"I'm willing to work in any way that I can, to try and get a mosquito abatement program established back in this parish," said Tessmer.

But Parish President Layton Ricks is worried tacking on mosquito control to the Health Unit's millage, which is up for renewal next year, could tank the chances to keep the money flowing to a vital part of the parish.

"Let's secure that millage for the health unit," said Ricks, "the health unit serves so many people and has such a purpose that I think we need to secure that."

Still, Ricks is game to see what can be done with surplus cash, once the millage is locked in.

"I think the ten of us need to stand up to the public and tell them why it's so vitally important that we get this renewal passed, I think we get it secured and then if we want to go back to the public to use the funds for some other reason let the people decide on that," said Ricks.

The 5 mill tax is up for renewal next year. Voters previously voted twice against a tax that would have secured money to keep the mosquito program running.

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