Riverhead - (WALK) Suffolk County's Department of public works will expand its vector control efforts beyond managing mosquitoes, and will soon also attempt to tackle ticks and tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme Disease.
Lawmakers approved a proposal by Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) directing the county department of public works (DPW) division of vector control to devise a plan for dealing with ticks, and to update it each year. The bill passed 16- 0 with one abstention at their session Tuesday in Riverhead.
Schneiderman says his bill was inspired by hundreds of cases of Lyme Disease diagnosed in Suffolk and in his East End community each year, and the relative success of DPW in managing mosquito populations and mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Encephalitis. 689 cases of Lyme Disease were reported in Suffolk in 2012, according to county health officials.
Suffolk DPW's current vector control budget, virtually all of it devoted to mosquito control, is $2.3 million. Scheiderman says it may take a year to create a detailed plan and determine a budget for attacking ticks.
Other decisions by lawmakers Tuesday include: approving the sale of the county's H. Lee Dennison office building in Hauppauge to the county's Judicial Facilities Agency (JFA). The county would then leaseback the building in a scheme supporters say will net Suffolk a one-shot budget infusion of $67 million.
Lawmakers tabled action on establishing a new fee policy for county health centers.
See the Legislature's full agenda at: http://legis.suffolkcountyny.gov/
Photo: Stuart Meek