Mosquito abatement districts could be exterminated
Updated: April 29, 2013 9:58AM
NORTHFIELD TOWNSHIP — Two candidates running for Northfield Township believe state legislation to close Cook County mosquito abatement offices should be considered.
Current Township Supervisor Jill Brickman and John Birkinbine, a candidate for township trustee, said the tax-supported abatement districts were financially mismanaged and not needed.
Specifically, they targeted the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District and its president, Carol Blustein, who also is a Northfield Township trustee running against Brickman for supervisor.
Brickman and Birkinbine, a former state representative and former Northfield village president, are members of the Northfield Township Republican Organization.
Blustein is with the Democrats of Northfield Township.
According to a Township Republican release, North Shore Mosquito Abatement District Board spent
$355,700 for mosquito abatement supplies, while $659,341 was for salaries, $89,500 for pension contributions and Social Security and $227,500 for insurance and bonds.
“These figures equate to $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars last year, where more than 75 percent of that allocation went to salaries, pensions and benefits for NSMAD employees,” stated the release.
Blustein oversees the district’s budget.
“I know Carol, but I have always disagreed with much of her approach to spending tax dollars,” Brickman said.
Blustein said her appointed position as president was without pay and benefits, including travel expenses to and from meetings.
“The mission of the NSMAD is much more than abatement,” she said.
“With the advent of West Nile Virus it has become a mission that includes the spread of West Nile virus and other mosquito borne diseases.”
She also pointed out the 2012 tax levy was frozen and the 2013 tax levy will be $70,000 less than 2012, while providing the same level of service to residents.
“We also must have liability insurance for our building, trucks and employees,” she said.
Birkinbine said mosquito abatement programs could be replaced by existing government programs.
“ I have lived in states across the country and Illinois is the only state that I have lived in that has mosquito control districts,” he said.
State Rep. Jim Durkin, R-82nd, proposed House Bill 2815 that would eliminate the districts and shift abatement to the Cook County Department of Environmental Control.
Durkin’s legislation would close the Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District, North Shore Mosquito Abatement District, Northwest Mosquito Abatement District and South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District.
The existing terms of the trustees would expire Jan. 1, 2015.
Durkin said the four districts levy $10 million in taxes each year.
“I believe Cook County can take on these programs just like Du Page County does. We need to do a better job of consolidating government agencies,” he said.
“Illinois has the largest number of taxing bodies in the country. We’re pushing people and businesses out of Illinois because of financial mismanagement and taxes.”