Warren's war on mosquitoes could bite residents in their pockets

Posted at 11:23 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 23:23:56-04

The city of Warren prides itself on keeping the streets safe and clean. For Mayor Jim Fouts that includes protecting it from one of its most deadly foes - Mosquitoes.

"I felt that we needed to take extraordinary measures to make sure that we don't fall into the serious situation we had about a decade ago or so."

That's when Fouts says several people in Warren died from mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus. But now he is worried about Zika and another disease carried by mosquitoes that's been dormant in America for over a century.

"I'm predicting that we will face the problem of Yellow Fever, probably in about a year to two years," said Fouts.

So Fouts wants to be ready. His $90,000 war on mosquitoes will hit them where they live - like catch basins.

It could also hit residents in their pockets.

Fouts has ordered city inspectors to issue warnings and then tickets to residents who fail to get rid of standing water in pools and other places where mosquitoes breed.

"If they do not respond in time then they could face a fine of anywhere from $100 to $1,000," Fouts said.

Some residents are seeing red over the mayor's concerns about Yellow Fever.

Sharon Haight lives in a house down the street from the mayor's. Her street has never been paved in the 30 years she's lived there. 

"They better inspect their ditches and their dirt streets that hold water and the more ditches they keep digging out through here instead of worrying about people's pools," Haight said.

There hasn't been a case of mosquito-transmitted Zika in Michigan and there are no mosquitoes with Yellow Fever in the Western hemisphere.

But Fouts believes it's better to be safe than sorry.

"I don't want to give anybody a fine. I hope we don't have to give anybody a fine, but I have a responsibility as the mayor to serve and protect the public," Fouts said.