Officials still considering millage for future gypsy moth spraying
Thu, 06/10/2021 - 2:28pm caleb
Area residents report tree defoliation, rain of insect excrement, and allergic reactions to caterpillars as infestation continues
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
County officials discussed the area’s gypsy moth issues – residents have reported tree defoliation on their property, excessive insect excrement falling from trees, and itchy skin welts from allergic reactions to the hairs of the caterpillars – during the June 10 Crawford County Board of Commissioners online meeting, and their plan is still the exploration of a possible millage to create funding for a future spraying program.
Officials said it is too late to spray this year and there is no county money to pay for it.
“Nothing has really changed,” said Paul Compo, Crawford County Administrator.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners also discussed the gypsy moth issue during its May 21 online meeting. During each of the last two board meetings, Compo and commissioners said they’ve heard concerns from citizens about the gypsy moth problems.
Compo, on June 10, said the normal two-week window for gypsy moth spraying is “the last couple weeks of May.”
“Obviously we missed that window this year,” Compo said.
Compo said he spoke with Michigan State University officials and they explained that lack of rain has been a contributing factor to the gypsy moth infestation this year because rain “stimulates a fungus growth” that can kill the insects.
Compo said he spoke with some township officials after the May 21 meeting and not all of them are in favor of spraying. County officials, during the June 10 meeting, said some townships – such as South Branch – have been hit hard by the gypsy moth infestation, while other townships in Crawford County have not been affected as much.
Compo said special assessments for townships are “cost prohibitive” with regard to paying for spraying.
“If you want a spraying program we’re going to have to have a millage,” Compo said.
Compo said for a millage to succeed, it would need support from the townships. He said some local officials feel there are more pressing concerns in the county that could be addressed if taxes are to be raised through a millage.
One area resident spoke during the June 10 meeting, voicing concerns about the defoliation and consistent rain of caterpillar excrement falling from her trees.
“I can’t even be outside,” she said.
Compo said he will continue to direct gypsy moth inquiries to the townships.
“I’m of the opinion that the townships need to handle this,” Commissioner Carey Jansen said. “I don’t think there is an easy solution.”
During the May 21 meeting, Compo said placing a gypsy moth spraying millage on the ballot during a regular election could be done in 2022 and then the earliest the spraying could begin through the program would be in 2023.