Snead officials consider mosquito fight

Following a discussion begun at their previous meeting, Snead officials examined further ways the town might combat an anticipated serious mosquito season. At that March 14 meeting, Mayor Curt Painter reported some residents had contacted him about old automobile tires lying around the town. Councilman Tim Kent had suggested officials consult the health department or ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management).

In Snead’s March 28 session, utilities supervisor Jeff Whited reported on his contact with state officers. He said that he was told the state does not get involved unless there is a significant number of tires, anywhere from 50 to 100 or more.

At Painter’s urging, Whited shared that he had spoken with an acquaintance about a portable mosquito sprayer for possible use in the town. Councilman Greg Ogles initially misunderstood the type sprayer to which Whited referred, presuming it was a truck-mounted version.

Whited compared the one he was talking about to a leaf blower. He said it fits on the operator’s back and has a hand-held applicator. As Whited continued, he noted that he had received a telephone call from a poison provider who had quoted a price of $600 for five gallons of solution.

Whited offered to learn more, noting that he does not know how much poison the five gallons provides, once diluted. He also warned that sprayings need to be done every 21 days.

Several present at the meeting speculated that mosquitoes would likely be numerous this season with warm temperatures and heavier-than-normal rains. While no one made specific reference to the Zika virus, discussion suggested it is on the minds of at least some.

Painter updated the council on proposed paving for the town, as raised by Kent in the prior meeting. Painter said that Whitaker Contracting had informed him they would begin work on the scheduled resurfacing the third week in April. He added that he had received no real answer from the state official he had contacted about the presumed dangerous stretch of pavement on U.S. 278 near the old Walmart entrance.

In his regular report, Whited advised the council that town engineer Robert Nelson would have a walk-through of the town’s ball fields the following day. That would presumably conclude the replacement lighting work done there. Whited will continue discussion over fencing of electrical units with other providers. He explained the new lighting system features remote control through a simple telephone call, as well as traditional manual operation.

Whited asked permission to purchase additional radio-read water meters. He explained the town has replaced some defective ones and set new ones, having now only a handful of the devices in stock. He reported he could use older-style meters as replacements, but Councilman Dale Snead and others objected.

While the radio-read meters are considerably more expensive than the old style, the town has voted to change gradually to the new system. Councilors said it made no sense to install older models, only later to replace them with the new ones. Snead won approval of his motion to purchase a case of the new (reported 20 meters) at the approximate cost of $240 each.

Kent nominated former chamber of commerce representative Joyce Breasseale Debter to her old post. She had resigned earlier following a changed job assignment but has agreed to resume that role for the town.

Ogles, who coordinates park and recreation matters between the council and the park board, expressed his desire to see sand and landscape timbers around park play equipment replaced with rubber pellets and manufactured edging. He promised to get quotes for the council’s next regular meeting.

Police Chief Alan Hicks asked the council to approve three reserve candidates to work with his department. Snead successfully moved for their approval, contingent on the usual background checks and physicals. With the addition of the three (Chris Branham, Jason Franklin and Jamie Pettit), the reserve will reach its allotted eight members.

Councilmen Phillip McHan and Charles Sanders missed the March 28 meeting, attended by Painter, Kent, Ogles, and Snead along with several town employees and observers. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Mondays (mistakenly reported as Tuesdays in the previous article) of each month at 7 p.m. in the town community center.