As voters in East Baton Rouge Parish go to the polls, we think they will find one tax renewal that is quite popular.
That is the funding to fight mosquitoes.
The 1-mill property tax is known to most of us as the funding for spraying for mosquitoes. On the Nov. 4 ballot, it authorizes eradication or abatement of “mosquitoes, other arthropods of public health importance and rodents.” Attaboy to fighting each and every one.
The mosquito tax raises about $3.5 million a year for those purposes, which is not a huge amount of money in a jurisdiction the size of East Baton Rouge, but one we encourage voters to support in the interests of public health and comfort.
It’s not just a matter of keeping the yard easier to live in for barbecues and crawfish boils. Just this week, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported two new cases of West Nile virus, one in the Shreveport area and one in Baton Rouge.
“It seems that all we hear about in the news right now is Ebola virus, but while no one in Louisiana has caught that disease, we’ve had over 100 people infected by West Nile in Louisiana,” said DHH’s epidemiologist, Dr. Raoult Ratard.
He’s right, and one important way to combat the disease — which can be fatal to older people or those with impaired immune systems — is a vigorous spraying program. We urge voters in East Baton Rouge Parish to support this vital service.