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Palm Coast Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 5 months ago

East Flagler Mosquito Control plans potential expansion

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The district expects to add more services in Rima Ridge and Espanola, and may expand its coverage countywide.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

The East Flagler Mosquito Control District may undertake a multiphase expansion project that would bring regular mosquito control services to certain communities in western Flagler — or, potentially to the county as a whole. 

County Commissioner Joe Mullins, whose district includes western Flagler, has pushed for the expansion. 

"We want to be able to provide equal services throughout the county," he said at a Dec. 6 commission meeting. "That area's grown ... and they should not have to call every time they need a service."

By the time we've got multiple residents calling ... we’ve already bypassed the issue where it’s a nuisance. Now it’s no longer a nuisance; it’s really a problem."

 

— JONATHAN LORD, Flagler County Emergency Management director

The East Flagler Mosquito Control District currently provides regular mosquito control services to areas that pay a tax for those services. Some other areas, like Rima Ridge and Espanola, pay a reduced tax for more limited services, such as on-demand spraying in response to resident complaints of mosquito activity.

The County Commission at the Dec. 6 meeting approved an agreement that streamlines the district's process of handling those on-demand services. Under a 2003 agreement, the county was responsible for fielding resident complaints about mosquito activity and relaying those to the district. Under the new agreement, the district will be able to collect and respond to those complaints itself.

The district expects to go further in the future, expanding  regular services to those areas so that residents don't have to call in complaints. Areas annexed into the district's purview for regular services would be taxed at the regular service rate.

The district is currently in the first phase of the proposed expansion, working with a survey company to expand its boundaries to bring services to parts of Plantation Bay and to northwestern Palm Coast, where development is occurring, county Emergency Management Director Jonathan Lord said at a Dec. 6 Flagler County Commission meeting.

Once that survey process is finished, Lord said, the mosquito control district will bring the proposed boundary revision to the Flagler County Commission for approval, then implementation in the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years.

The next phase would occur around 2024 or 2025, with the addition of the Rima Ridge Special Assessment District and Espanola Special Assessment District.

There's less certainty about the third phase: The district could add only Daytona North, or it could add the entirety of the county. 

"That's a few years out, and that's something that I think we all need to look at jointly with the mosquito control district to determine what is the appropriate action out there," Lord said. "There's a lot that needs to go into looking at how we go into Phase 3 — including the results of Phase 1 and 2, and how that impacted the tax rates."

The district plans to use money accrued in funds for the Rima Ridge and Espanola districts to provide some enhanced monitoring there before those areas are phased in for regular service, Lord said. 

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