By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Two candidates are going head-to-head for Indian River County Mosquito Control District seat three.
Janice Broda, a 20-year incumbent is being challenged by political newcomer Scott Stradley for a leadership role in the special district.
In the 20 years she has been on the district board, there have been changes and challenges to mosquito control that needed to be addressed.
"We have new imported mosquitoes and diseases," Ms. Broda said.
West Nile and encephalitis were first found in Florida in 2001, and so addressing new health concerns had to be a priority. Around the same time, mosquito control faced increased regulations.
"The regulations required a decrease in the toolbox of available pesticides," Ms. Broda said.
"We have more challenges, more pests and less tools to meet the challenges," she said.
One thing many people forget when they look at the district's budget, is that weather and disease transmission are very uncertain and difficult to predict, Ms. Broda said.
The board feels the responsibility is on them to budget in case of a public health emergency and so each year, there is a $345,000 line item for three treatments of aerial insecticides, which looks like a large amount, but protecting the public health is their job, Ms. Broda said.
In an effort to be wise with taxpayer dollars, the district contracts out work to the private sector, she said.
Ms. Broda said she believes the district has done a good job of mosquito control, even though it is expensive, by trying to target the mosquitoes before they become adults, in the larvae stage in the watery, marshy places in the county.
One area Ms. Broda said she would like to see improved is the district's website information and accessibility and to increase its amount of public outreach programs.