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Mosquito control efforts scrapped in Gays Mills
gays mills village board

GAYS MILLS - After a long off-and-on discussion about mosquito control in Gays Mills that began again last summer, the village board made a decision  at their meeting Monday, May 4 not to pursue any type of mosquito abatement.

Village trustee Kevin Murray reported his findings on the mosquito control situation to the board at the monthly meeting.

Murray contacted a private contractor, Joe Ritz from Vector Control, hired by the county as a consultant on mosquito control. Through Ritz he eventually talked with Dave Geske, the LaCrosse official who formerly headed up that city’s effort to control mosquitos in that city located along the Mississippi River with a well-known mosquito problem.

Murray said that both men recommended the use of a bacillus larvicide that kills mosquito larva in standing water. The bacillus is non-toxic to humans, animals and aquatic life.

Geske told Murray that the city had a lot of success with using the bacillus, but never achieved eradicating the mosquito problem. However, it did help in areas of the city.

LaCrosse has now contracted with Orkin for mosquito control and they are using the same product.

Geske said the city found fogging was unsuccessful in controlling the problem and gave up on using that method.

Murray said the bacillus should be applied at the rate of 20 pounds to an acre. However, Geske said he used 10 to 15 pounds per acre.

Murray used Google maps to calculate that Gays Mills had about 34 acres of sloughs. That meant at the rate of 15 pounds per acre, the village would need to purchase 13 40-pound bags at a total cost of $3,900 for one treatment, according to the village trustee.

Furthermore, to get at the cycles of eggs, larva and flying insects, Murray said it would take three separate treatments and the total cost would be over $11,000. Murray thought the cost made doing it prohibitive. He suggested more affordable tubes hung in trees, with a formula that needed to be kept wet to be effective, might be a more affordable option.

Village trustee Aaron Fortney asked about the possibility of fogging for mosquitoes using an insecticide.

Murray said fogging is not viewed by the people he talked to and others as an effective method of controlling mosquitos, and there are health concerns about exposure to the chemical.

Fortney has long advocated fogging for mosquitos in Gays Mills. He noted that the Village of Soldiers Grove does it effectively.

Village president Harry Heisz indicated he had some success with the tubes in his yard last year. He also noted that he had some success in the past with fogging for mosquitoes, and that it would last for a certain period of time.

Fortney said he felt that the subject should be removed from the agenda and the board was just wasting time. He said it would be up to residents to be dealing with the problem on their own.

Fortney made a motion to remove mosquito control from the agenda going forward. The motion was seconded by Larry McCarn and passed by the board.

In other business, the Gays Mills Village Board:

• learned Verizon was inquiring about the possibility of locating a cellphone tower on village-owned  property near the cemetery–it was unclear whether the request was for a 5G tower

• approved paying for assessments on three buyout properties as required by the FEMA grants that pay for 87.5 percent of the cost, while DNR grants will pay for the other 12.5 percent and the assessment cost will be included in the total buyout price, according to CDA’s Dale Klemme

• learned an incorrect parcel number was used in the old school buyout and Klemme arranged to have the correct parcel listed, and the buyout with the correct number was re-approved

• learned new buyouts of the American Legion building and the Bell property were moving forward, but the Dull property adjoining the Societies Sons Motorcycle Club was put on hold because of Department of Transportation concerns-it was thought that the DOT might not have an understanding of what property was involved

• approved hiring of 10 lifeguards for the swimming pool and 4 or 5 more pending their certification

• approved paying $70,000 on the $80,000 loan used to fix the pool last year using money raised by the Save our Pool Committee–$12,000 is being retained as a contingency fund going forward

• heard from Allan Teach that Sunrise Orchard is interested in hooking up to the village sewer system and agreed to investigate the possibility

• received an update on Rural Development Grant application should the village decide to pursue the joint sewer plant project with Soldiers Grove

• agreed the board had previously approved letting the village pay routine bills without board approval if that becomes necessary because a meeting cannot be held

• approved placing new village trustee Seamus Murray on the road streets committee and the utilities committee

• approved a bid of $3,039 from Tara Heisz to do interior painting of some areas of the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center

• agreed to have the pool open as early as late May if the weather permits