DENTON — By Tuesday evening, we'll know which Denton County communities have decided to go along with an aerial spraying program to combat disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Southlake's City Council voted 6-1 Monday evening to approve participation in the aerial spraying program, and Lewisville's council approved the spraying plan in a 3-1 vote.
But earlier, the county seat and its second-largest city — Denton — declined to go along, joining Carrollton, which has the largest population.
The Denton City Council voted 4-1 against aerial spraying, even though 23 of the county's 121 West Nile cases are within the city limits.
Residents will likely support the decision, but it's still being questioned in the zip code with the most cases.
Denton homeowner Taylor Lymbery supports aerial spraying in the city with a population of more than 115,000. He says the benefits will save lives and prevent people from getting sick.
"I understand people's concerns with not wanting to do aerial spraying," Lymbery said. "But they reassured us that the spray itself is going to break down, and that it is not that harmful."
But many Denton homeowners do not want aerial spraying.
Brandon Thompson says there's just too much uncertainty about the chemicals used to kill the adult mosquitoes that transmit the West Nile virus to humans.
"You don't know how far it will spread or what's around that might be affected by the spray," Thompson said.
Denton city leaders told us their constituents were overwhelmingly opposed to aerial spraying. Mayor Pro Tem Pete Kamp said public sentiment was running 100-1 against it.
"We truly feel like we did what our citizens wanted us to do in the City of Denton," Kamp said.
Denton City Council members voted down aerial spraying despite having 17 West Nile cases per 100,000 people, a rate higher than hard-hit Dallas County.
Council members believe their current approach is working: an aggressive combination of testing, ground spraying, free larvacide briquets and education.
"With our spot spraying and our other educational programs, we have already reduced the incidents of cases and also, the number of mosquitoes," Kamp said.
But Taylor Lymbery says one more West Nile infected person is too many, and aerial spraying may have helped prevent that.
These Denton County cities have also decided against participating in the aerial spraying program:
- Providence Village
- The Colony
Among the communities opting in to the aerial campaign:
- Corral City
- Town of Crossroads
- Town of Dish
- Town of Double Oak
- Town of Flower Mound
- Lake Dallas
- Lakewood Village
- Lincoln Park
- Town of Northlake
- Pilot Point
- Town of Trophy Club
- Denton County Fresh Water Supply 1-A
Denton County's third-largest city, Lewisville -- with a population of 96,000 -- is among the municipalities that have not yet decided on whether to join the aerial spraying program.