By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
This year, for the first time, Pierz residents enjoyed mosquito relief during the summer months, when the city contracted with a mosquito control company.
Residents in Pierz will continue to reap the benefits of mosquito control as the City Council voted to not only continue the service, but on its own terms.
The Council voted to purchase its own equipment and chemicals, instead of contracting with a company for the service every other week.
This way, if mosquitoes are heavy, more treatments can be applied; if not, fewer treatments. So too, if one area of the city needs an extra application, that can be accommodated as well.
Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba said a contract with Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management Inc., for nine treatments on an every-other-week schedule, would cost $5,805 (plus tax) in 2014, with savings if the contract was signed by Jan. 15, 2014 and paid in full by March 15, 2014.
Otremba’s figures showed the initial equipment cost at $10,856.47, including freight and taxes. The annual cost to the city for chemicals, labor, use of the vehicle, maintenance and equipment replacement was figured at about $6,364.04.
While the cost to the city would be higher owning its own equipment, the Council felt there were more benefits to residents.
“I like the idea that if we do it, we can do it when we want,” said Council Member Mike Menden.
Council Member Stephanie Fyten that with the city having its own equipment, if the need to spray for an upcoming event, it could be done, or if mosquitoes were particularly bad at the golf course, it could be taken care of.
“I like the idea that it can be done under ideal conditions,” said Council Member Matt Bell.
He explained that if the weather is not ideal on a particular Wednesday, the day typically chosen by the contracted company, it could be done on a different day with city equipment.
“We’ll get more length out of the product,” he said.
To recoup the costs of the purchase of the equipment and the spraying, the Council voted to add $1.50 to city residents’ utility billings — $18 per year — effective Jan. 1, 2014.
“If you buy two bottles of spray for your yard it’ll cost $18,” said City Administrator Anna Gruber.
“It’s a good step to make outdoor life in the city of Pierz more comfortable,” said Mayor Toby Egan.