Hillsborough mosquito fight getting costly

Tampa officials are worried about how to fund all the work performed to fight the Zika virus.

As Florida waits on federal funding to help fight Zika, local mosquito control crews continue working overtime.
 
Already this year, Hillsborough County has gone over budget by a half-million dollars, but commissioners decided not to increase next year's budget. 
 
Hillsborough mosquito control crews have been working overtime lately -- spraying, testing, setting traps, treating standing water and educating homeowners.  All that extra work and supplies costs money, pushing the county over this year's original budget.
 
"We had $2.4 (million) and then we did a budget amendment in February of this year of about $476,000 on top of that,"  County Public Works Director John Lyons says. Despite the county keeping the mosquito control budget the same $2.4 million for 2017, he's confident they'll have the tools they need to respond to Zika concerns.  "I firmly believe that the board will stand by anything that we need to do."
 

 
Commission Chairman Les Miller said that they will do whatever needs to be done to fight Zika. He said if mosquito control needs more money, the board can modify the budget and take that extra money out of reserves."
 
As far as counting on state and federal money?  "We applied for 560 thousand dollars in total.  I think we've submitted two or three invoices and I think we've received one payment of about 57 thousand dollars." said Lyons.
 
But Commissioner Miller says they aren't waiting on that and if the board has to increase the mosquito control budget, they will.
 
Gov. Rick Scott isn't waiting on federal money either.  Just this morning, he authorized another $10 million in state funds to fight Zika.
 
 
 


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