By BRIAN SMITH
A grant funding application for a new boat for the Weatherford Police Department was approved by council members during Tuesday night’s meeting.
Police Chief Mike Manning said the proposal has been submitted twice before to the office of the governor’s criminal justice division and had been approved last year but, due to a lack of funding, was turned down.
Because of the application being during a new fiscal year, a new grant application must be filed and approved, according to a staff report.
If approved, the board would be used for patrols on Lake Weatherford. The department’s current boat, a 15-foot 1995 model, is in disrepair and cannot do what it is need for, like pulling stranded boaters or working with a dive team.
The boat will be used for both safety enforcement and medical response on the water, providing assistance to the water plant, natural disaster assistance and helping to create partnerships and relationships with residents and lake users. According to a staff report, the boat will help to educate boat and property owners on lake rules. In return, lake users can help officers identify trouble spots and problem areas around the lake.
In other activity, the council approved a mosquito surveillance and response plan in an attempt to be proactive against the West Nile virus which was very prevalent in area counties last summer.
The city will be working with MunicipalMosquito.com. Under the terms of the agreement, which are being finalized, the city will pay a $3,200 retainer fee, which will include meetings with city staff and the public to discuss what the company is doing and what residents can do to keep mosquitos at bay.
Angel Rudolph with the city’s consumer health department said mosquito traps will be pulled once a week from city property in areas around the city. She said there wasn’t a big West Nile push around the city last year.
Mike Swann from Municipal Mosquito said there is no rhyme or reason to the virus but it does generally appear in areas in anywhere from five to seven year cycles. Once a mosquito is tested and found to have the virus, spraying will begin on three consecutive night basis in the area where the mosquito was found.
Swann said the spray used has a 60 percent kill rate per night.
Council member Jeff Robinson asked if the city could save money by doing the treatments, if needed, themselves. Swann said all his technicians are licensed in case of a lawsuit happening because of the spraying.
Rudolph said the city will have dunks available for residents to treat areas of standing water, where mosquitos tend to congregate, like they did last summer.