By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Two candidates are going head-to-head for Indian River County Mosquito Control District seat three.
First-time challenger Scott Stradley is running against 20-year incumbent Janice Broda for a chance to take a leadership position in the special district.
"As I looked at the mosquito control budget, I became concerned about the spending and the fact they have not come to grips with the new normal," Mr. Stradley said.
Mosquito control is an expensive proposition, but in looking at their budget and meeting minutes for the past four years, Mr. Stradley, a certified professional accountant and certified financial planner, is confident he can make the district more efficient and cut costs.
Mr. Stradley, a 28-year resident of Indian River County, has never held an elected office, but currently serves as chairman of the Vero Beach utilities commission and a representative on the county's economic development council for the board of county commissioners.
"When I'm elected, we're going to kill mosquitos and cut the budget," Mr. Stradley said.
One of the cost-savings he will propose is scheduling the workers differently when it is time to spray for mosquitos at night.
Night spraying is a scheduled activity and because it is planned in advance, schedules for employees can be changed.
"I'm certain there's a solution so we don't have to pay employees time and a half (to spray at night)," Mr. Stradley said.
Another budget-cutting maneuver would be to restructure the healthcare benefits of employees.
Unlike many governing boards, employees of the special district are still able to receive dependent healthcare coverage and do not pay a co-pay, Mr. Stradley said.
"Nobody gets dependent coverage anymore, police don't get it, firefighters don't get that," he said.
It's just one more example of the district being stuck in the past, Mr. Stradley said.
"I think it's good that the employees share in the cost of healthcare for the better plans. It needs to cost people something so that they don't overuse it. I think we can save a lot of funds there," he said.
He also wants to make the district more accessible to the public by recording videos of the meetings and perhaps moving the meetings to a more well-known location.
Hometown News is attempting to feature all the candidates running for a seat on the Indian River County Mosquito Control District. Check out other issues of the paper for other candidate features, or search online at www.myhometownnews.net.