LAURINBURG — Ridding the county of mosquitoes was a clear priority of the Scotland County Board of Commissioners at their meeting Monday.
The state of North Carolina has been allotted $4 million to purchase larvacide, and Scotland County has been allotted $54,000 from that total.
“We are the eastern third of the state (and) the allocation was done by population density,” said Kevin Patterson, county manager.
Patterson stated that he is working with Health Department Director Kristen Patterson and Environmental Health Supervisor Brian Lowery on a mosquito mitigation plan. They have already ordered and plan to disperse household kits that will include larvacide insect spray and, potentially, yard spray. They have also asked the state to send 1,000 larvacide tablets that can be put in standing water. These tablets would slow the reproduction of mosquitoes in the area.
County officials are also looking into options of aerial treatments versus ground treatments. Patterson says that ground treatments are cheaper at $21 per mile, compared to aerial treatments that run $2.25 per acre. The county will not treat all areas but will focus on places with a lot of people and households closer in range.
“If there is one household every mile, it’s just not applicable to treat (with spray), but if it has population concentrations like Mayfield or Springfield, we will look into effectively treating those areas,” said Patterson.
The board will hold a meeting next week to discuss and approve spray routes.
“The quicker we can get this done, the better,” said Whit Gibson, county chairman.
In other storm-related business …
— Commissioners discussed and approved an initial budget of $75,500 to repair the annex and administration building.
— Patterson gave updates on Florence relief numbers, reporting that more than 600 residents stayed in the shelters during the height of the storm. The shelter had to be relocated three times due to flooding and lack of power. St. Andrews University became an unplanned shelter then residents were moved to North Laurinburg Elementary school.
“The two backup locations we planned (for) we could not get to, the roads did not exist,” said Patterson.
— There were 253 water rescues made by local law enforcement, fire departments, rescue teams and swift water teams from different counties and states.
“Our staff worked under extreme conditions to protect the citizens of Scotland County, the leadership was there, the effort and commitment was there,” said Carol McCall, co-chair. “Everyone needs to feel good about the county we live in.”
— Patterson said because of flooded houses and apartments, the county does not have enough houses or units to place people. He credits the community for stepping up to help their fellow neighbors.
“Our homeless numbers have not massively increased because of the number of people in the community who are taking in people, family, friends, and neighbors into their homes,” said Patterson.
— The board previously waived yard debris fees for the county landfill to give time for people to move their storm debris to landfills or have them removed by private companies. That waiver would have lapsed Monday but, last night, the board voted to push the storm debris waiver two weeks ahead. After that span of time, the board will do case by case waivers.
— Patterson reported that Disaster Assistance teams are going around the county to help people apply, and online applications are available at FEMA.gov.
He also said the county has applied for a disaster assistance shelter, which will be Scotland Place and are waiting for feedback about the opening date.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]