By LEAH STRATMANN
Even routine matters at the South Walton Mosquito Control District (SWMCD) meetings are now fraught with tension. At the meeting of the board last week after the invocation and pledge, it was time for approval of the August minutes.
Board chairman Jim Crawford asked to table the approval of the minutes stating he had contacted the board’s attorney, Lori Bytell, several times and his calls were not returned. “This is the second time you’ve let me down and I’m not happy,” Crawford said. Crawford did not elaborate on why he wanted clarification on the minutes.
Attorney Bytell apologized for her failure to return his calls, saying she had been extremely busy.
Crawford said he is seeking second attorney opinions for a number of unspecified items, but as there is a question of cost, he was seeking the board’s permission to see another attorney. Crawford said he is not satisfied with Bytell and wants to put the board attorney position out for bid. He then made a motion to submit a request for proposals for a board attorney. The motion passed.
Board member John Magee said the board should conduct a search every few years anyway and encouraged Bytell to submit a proposal as well.
At the request of several citizens in the mosquito board district, the board has purchased concentrated garlic juice to test its effectiveness as a mosquito barrier.
Another test project will be to test mosquito traps powered with solar power rather than electricity. “Solar prices have really dropped and will continue to drop and the batteries have gotten better. If it’s not going to work, it’s not going to work, but we might as well give it a try,” commented Magee.
“I know we can’t convert all of them at once, but we can do it a little of time,” Crawford said. “I think the public would like to see use of solar out there.”
In a final bit of business, a budget of $1,961,092 was approved for fiscal 2008-2009.