Pest management's future not as bleak as possible

Mosquito spraying could be cut short by about two weeks in 2006 because of budget cuts to the Moffat County Pest Management Department, the department's manager said Wednesday.

But services won't decrease as much as the department had anticipated a few months ago, department manager Gary Brannan said.

The department trimmed its 2006 budget by $15,000, going from $215,000 in 2005 to about $200,000 in 2006.

The 7 percent cut means the department will purchase less mosquito spraying supplies.

Brannan said Pest Management would start spraying for mosquitoes in the spring about the same time as always, but will stop when the chemicals run out.

Last year, Pest Management stopped spraying in September, Brannan said. Next year, it probably will stop about two weeks sooner.

When the county campaigned for Referendum 1A, which would have allowed the county to spend more money for the next five years, commissioners singled out mosquito spraying as one of the services that could be cut if the referendum failed.

The referendum failed, but Brannan said the budget cuts aren't as bad as he anticipated.

"It may be a little better," Brannan said.

Rising fuel costs will have an effect on the department next year, Brannan said, but he doesn't expect fuel costs to hurt as bad as he originally estimated.

The county will spend $18,000 on new compact pickups for the department in 2006.

The trucks will get better gas mileage then the ones the department currently uses, Brannan said.

The department also will get two new ATVs, which it badly needs, Brannan said.

"We have some that are beyond repair," Brannan said.

It has been about four years since the department bought new trucks or ATVs, Brannan said.

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