LOCAL NEWS

Tooele area residents want city to look at mosquito abatement

Sep 28, 2023, 11:01 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2023, 6:05 am

TOOELE — Tooele Valley neighbors say they’re fed up with a mosquito problem, and they can’t get any relief. Tooele City isn’t part of the mosquito abatement district, and neighbors who say they’re getting bit by the decision hope the city will reconsider joining.

During some weekday evenings, people around Tooele County might see trucks driving neighborhood roads, with a curious fog drifting out of a machine in the bed. The humming noise stays steady as the trucks make the rounds; the haze is meant to kill nuisance mosquitoes that potentially bring diseases, like West Nile virus.

One place the trucks are often seen in is Erda, where neighbors Brian Cox and Mark Roberts live.

“There’s got to be just thousands in my yard alone, it’s so bad,” Roberts said.

Even with treatment, they still get eaten alive.

“No matter what the temperature, and no matter what the weather conditions, you know, can be 90 to 100 degrees, middle of the day,” Cox explained. “The mosquitoes are swarming you so bad, they just chase you right back inside.”

The two said their properties border Tooele City, which doesn’t participate in the mosquito abatement district. They believe mosquitoes from the city are inundating their yards.

“We’ve got a public health hazard. It’s not just a nuisance, it’s a hazard,” Cox said. “And it’s one with West Nile Virus and other diseases going around that affect the animals as well as the people.”

They aren’t the only ones frustrated. Scott Bradshaw, district manager of the Tooele Valley Mosquito Abatement District, explained that he’s been getting calls from city residents for help. He described how people are saying they can’t be in their yards.

“They are calling and putting in service requests. And unfortunately, they’re outside of our district boundaries,” he said.

Bradshaw usually tells people to notify their city council and bring forth the issue to them so they’re aware of it.

Tooele City Mayor Debbie Winn told KSL TV in an email that the city council decided not to join the abatement district because of the high additional costs to residents.

According to the minutes from a November 2021 Tooele City Council work meeting that Bradshaw said he was asked to present at, it would cost an average home around $59 per year and a commercial building about $108 per year to be part of the abatement district.

At that meeting, Bradshaw gave information about the abatement district and council members asked questions about treating mosquitoes in the city.

The council decided not to join the district.

“Instead, we treat all the ponds at both of the golf courses located in Tooele City limits.  These are the only large bodies of water in our city,” Mayor Winn wrote, in her email to KSL TV. “This has worked out well.    Although no abatement will get rid of all mosquitoes, we feel that our efforts have significantly reduced the mosquitos in the area.”

Bradshaw believes city growth might be leading to the calls they get.

“As is expanding to the west and to the north, they’re getting closer and closer to more mosquito habitat,” he said.

Roberts and Cox live near one of the golf courses that gets the pond treatments.

“Whatever they’re using is not effective,” Roberts said. “We need to try something else because this is out of hand.”

They’d like to see the city take another serious look at joining the Tooele Valley Mosquito Abatement District.

“Be a good neighbor,” Cox said. “The mosquitoes growing on your property.”

“They’re part of the community,” Robers said. “So they should be pitching in, helping with the problem.”

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Tooele area residents want city to look at mosquito abatement