Q&A provided by Riverside County Department of Environmental Health:
Q. What is the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health Mosquito, Vector and Disease Control Assessment?
A. The Mosquito, Vector and Disease Control Assessment is a mailed ballot measure for property owners that, if approved, will provide continued, comprehensive mosquito, rat and other vector surveillance and control, and vector-borne disease testing and prevention services.
Q. What types of services will be funded?
A. Continued disease surveillance and prevention, continued mosquito and vector control and abatement, rapid response to service requests and supply of mosquito-fish and surveillance for, and response to, new mosquito species and emerging diseases
Summary of proposed services:
Mosquito control: Continued, year-round control, using environmentally sound methods, of mosquito sources before immature mosquitoes (larvae) emerge as adults and begin biting people and animals. Specific actions include mosquito-eating fish to be provided to the public free of charge and certified technicians to identify additional mosquito breeding sources and locations, and prevent adult mosquitoes from emerging.
West Nile Virus & other vector-borne disease prevention: Continued surveillance and disease testing for West Nile virus. Increased surveillance of other types of vectors and vector-borne disease to assess the health risk and establish an appropriate response to emerging disease outbreaks. Actions include mosquito traps set throughout the Riverside County Program area to provide early warning of potential disease outbreaks, resumption of testing of dead birds for the presence of West Nile virus and other diseases, and surveillance and testing of rodents and the diseases they carry such as hantavirus and plague.
Response to service requests: The program would continue to respond to requests for service from property owners and residents. Program responses to service requests are free of charge and quickly address mosquito and other vector problems.
Community education: Continued education of the general public and in schools about protecting themselves and their pets from diseases carried by mosquitoes and other insects, and prevention of mosquito breeding in backyard locations.
Q. Why did I receive a ballot?
A. The ballot you received is your opportunity to vote on the proposed mosquito, vector and disease control services from the County of Riverside Department of Environmental Health. Please review the notice included with your ballot for more information on this measure.
Q. Why is this measure needed?
A. Historically, the Mosquito and Vector Control Program had been funded primarily by the Riverside County general fund. However, as a result of budget cuts, the program no longer receives this revenue source. The limited funding for vector control is not considered stable nor reliable, and the program’s future operation is in significant jeopardy.
Q. Will any of this money go to the county or state to be used for other purposes?
A. No. All money collected by the Department of Environmental Health from this proposed Mosquito, Vector and Disease Control Assessment must be used for local mosquito, vector and disease control within the service area.
Q. Is there a public hearing on the assessment? When will results of the ballot proceeding be known?
A. A public hearing will be held by the County of Riverside Board of Supervisors at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, at the county headquarters, 4080 Lemon St., Riverside.
Tabulation of the returned ballots will commence after the close of the public hearing. Results of the tabulation are expected to be announced at a public meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 21, at the Board of Supervisors’ chambers,
Q. How can I return my ballot?
A. You may return your ballot in either of the following ways:
1). Mail it to the address shown in the enclosed, postage-paid return envelope so it is received on or before July 7. (Riverside County Dept. of Environmental Health, District Environmental Services, the accounting office, 400 S. El Cielo Rd., Suite J, Palm Springs, CA 92262)
2). Deliver it in person to the public hearing scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 7, at the Board Chambers, 4080 Lemon St., Riverside.
Q. What is the deadline for returning my ballot?
A. To be counted, ballots must be received before the close of the public testimony portion of the public hearing on July 7. This deadline applies regardless of whether the ballot is mailed or hand-delivered at the public hearing.
Q. I own several properties. Why did I receive only one ballot?
A. Ballots can list up to 14 parcel numbers. Property owners who own more than one piece of property with the same mailing address in the service area (see map in the official notice) received one ballot with up to 14 of their properties listed on the ballot as well as the proposed assessment for each property. When you cast your ballot, you are casting for all of your properties listed on the ballot.
Q. How much is this assessment?
A. The proposed assessment for your property for fiscal year 2015-16 is printed on the Official Ballot included with the notice and information item. The assessment rates by property type are provided in the following table. The proposed assessment would raise approximately $485,378 for fiscal year 2015-16.
Q. How long will the assessment last?
A. The assessment, which is initially proposed for fiscal year 2015-16, may be continued on an annual basis with a majority vote of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Before the assessment can be continued in any future year, staff must first prepare a budget and plans for upcoming fiscal year. Then, the Board of Supervisors must hold a noticed public hearing on continuing the assessment and the budget for the assessment before the assessment can be authorized for the upcoming year.
If you have any questions about the assessment or the ballot, call 951-358-5172.