Friday, March 27, 2009
Selectmen kill mosquito control on TM Warrant
The Carlisle Board of Selectmen (BOS) unanimously voted at Tuesday’s meeting to remove the Warrant Article for the Town Meeting on May 4 proposing that Carlisle join the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project. The town officials acted in response to a late-breaking March 18, 2009 letter from the Board of Health (BOH) stating that “after considerable thought” it did not intend to propose joining the project at this time.
The letter stated: “Although the Board continues to be concerned about the potential health risks from West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the Board does not believe that this is the best time to ask for the town’s attention to this matter, given the many overriding economic concerns facing the community. “
BOH Agent Linda Fantasia, signatory of the letter, explained that the board’s decision was two-fold. As stated, the board felt that the Warrant included many economic issues requiring the town’s attention and felt the mosquito control item would not receive the review deserved at this time. As the BOH intended to fund the program’s $30,000 cost the first year through donations, joining the project would not have affected the town’s bottom line initially.
BOS Chairman Doug Stevenson concurred about the number of issues facing the town, and commented after closing the amended Warrant document, “I think this is the longest Warrant we’ve approved in many years.”
According to Fantasia, the other overriding concern was that the BOH did not feel it had sufficient “solid, scientific information” to sufficiently respond to questions from residents. Recent queries involve requests for data showing that mosquito control does reduce occurrences of West Nile disease. Fantasia has spoken to a number of state health officials but no definitive study exists at this point. Other issues involve environmental safety of mosquito control, and how genetically modified corn kernels – the distributing method for the mosquito control agents – might adversely affect town livestock.
The BOH will continue to investigate mosquito control and may propose a mosquito control program for Carlisle in the future. The town had previously considered mosquito control in 2001 – a motion the BOH did not endorse at the time – and residents soundly defeated the motion. The neighboring towns of Bedford and Concord are currently members of the project and active in larval mosquito control and surveillance. ∆
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