Mosquito district wants to keep Salisbury

BRANDON — The organization tasked with keeping mosquitoes in check in the Lake Dunmore and Brandon area is undergoing some changes. At its annual meeting last week, the Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen, Pittsford Mosquito Control District changed its name, elected new leadership, and made a plan for keeping Salisbury in the association.

Incorporated in the 1990s and known mostly as the BLSG, district representatives voted to change the name to the Otter Creek Watershed Mosquito Control District.

The name change will relieve the organization from the responsibility of changing its name in all its legal documents every time a town joins or leaves the district, explained Doug Perkins, who was elected chair of the board at the same meeting.

“This should have been done a long time ago,” said Perkins, who represents the town of Leicester and the Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association. “First we were the BLS, then Goshen joined and we had to change the name. Then Pittsford joined. We serve Proctor through a contract but they aren’t part of the formal organization (but they might be).”

In addition to Perkins taking over his position, Jeff Shulman was elected vice chair of the mosquito control district.

Also at the Nov. 18 meeting, the OCWMCD board changed how it would set its budget in an effort to keep Salisbury as part of the district. At their town meeting last March, Salisbury voters decided not to fund the BLSG because of disagreements over how it carried out its work (specifically, some objected to spraying chemicals to kill adult mosquitos) and questions about whether the town was getting its money’s worth.

Nevertheless, the BLSG provided some services to Salisbury this past summer, after a state agency ruled that the district had to apply larvacide (chemicals that kill mosquitoes before they are mature enough to bite) to all of its member towns or forfeit a $70,000 grant.

Perkins said the organization and Salisbury officials had a “gentleman’s agreement” that the town would cover the BLSG’s costs of spreading larvacide — an estimated $10,000 — but as yet no payments have come through. He hopes that Salisbury voters at the next town meeting will reaffirm the town’s participation in the Otter Creek Watershed Mosquito Control District.

As one sweetener to keep Salisbury, the mosquito district changed its budgeting process so that towns could vote to pay for just larvacide application, or adulticide, or both — plus some overhead.

“We hope (Salisbury) will stay around for the foreseeable future,” Perkins said. “We hope they stay a part of the district.”

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