A ballot will be mailed Friday (May 22) to property owners in some parts of unincorporated Riverside County about a proposed measure to continue controlling mosquitoes and preventing disease. The County of Riverside Vector Control Program was formed in 1972 to control mosquitoes and other vectors of diseases that could infect the public. A vector is an insect or animal, often mosquitoes and rodents, that can spread infectious diseases to people.
The program helps protect against diseases such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, plague and hantavirus. Southern California also faces emerging threats from diseases such as Chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever. Exotic vector species such as Asian tiger and yellow fever mosquitoes have been detected recently in neighboring counties.
If property owners approve the proposed benefit assessment, the program will continue working to control mosquitoes, identify vectors, educate the community about protecting against vectors, and conduct rapid testing for existing and emerging vectors and diseases in Riverside County. If the proposed assessment is not approved, the program will be forced to cut services drastically.
In order to continue current services, the vector control program needs a stable and sustainable funding source because county general-fund dollars have been eliminated. The program has stretched the available funding in the face of cost increases by reducing staffing and services. Many property owners in other parts of Riverside County and across California already pay for vector-control services through annual benefit assessments similar to the one being proposed.
The assessment amount will vary from $7.14 per year for most parcels $1.02 per year, depending on the level of benefit perceived. The amounts are assessed annually, and assessments for vacant and agricultural land are significantly lower.
The measure covers the unincorporated service area in the western county, from the City of Temecula to the south and extending up to the surrounding areas of the Banning/Beaumont Pass. The 10 incorporated cities along this corridor are invoiced quarterly for requested services.
Ballots are mailed with a postage-paid return envelope and must be received at the ballot tabulators office no later than July 7. Property owners also may drop them off at the public hearing on July 7. The public hearing will be held at the County Administrative Center in Riverside, 4080 Lemon St., during the regular Board of Supervisors meeting.
Anyone with questions about the ballot or measure may call 951-358-5172. Additional information may be found at www.rivcoeh.org