Q: What is a “Special District”?
A: The law defines a special district as “any agency of the state for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries” (Government Code §16271 [d]). In other words, a special district is a separate local government that delivers public services to a specific area.
A special district is governed by a Board of Trustees or Directors. In the case of the District the board is made up of a representative from each city in the County, and one from the County at large. In 1947, that totaled 11 members. There are now 34 cities in Orange County , resulting in a 35 member Board of Trustees. The Board provides direction for the District Manager, who is responsible for the day to day operation of the District.
Q: How many employees are there at the District?
A: The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District has 65 full time employees. During the months of peak activity, from March to November, the District historically hires a seasonal workforce. For that period, there are as many as 75 extra help employees performing tasks like treating gutters, flood channels, and underground storm drains.
Q: By what authority does the District operate?
A: The Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District was formed according to guidelines set forth by the Mosquito Abatement Act of 1915 and the California Health and Safety Code. In 2002 Senate Bill 1588 amended the code, and is known as the Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District Law. The District remains in compliance with and operates under the authority provided for in the Mosquito Abatement and Vector Control District Law.
Q: What authority regarding access to private property does this law provide?
A: Subject to the limitations of the United States Constitution and the California Constitution, employees of a district may enter any property within the district, or property located outside the district from which vectors may enter the district without hindrance or notice for any of the following purposes:
(1) Inspect the property to determine the presence of vectors or public nuisances.
(2) Abate public nuisances pursuant to this chapter, either directly or by giving notice to the property owner to abate the nuisance.
(3) Determine if a notice to abate a public nuisance has been complied with.
(4) Control vectors and treat property with appropriate physical, chemical or biological control measures.
Q: How is the District funded?
A: For FY 2016-17, the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District has a $12,895,550 revenue budget for its operating fund. Property taxes and assessments from two Assessment Districts account for 94% of this total revenue. The District’s estimated share of the basic property tax levy is estimated to be $5.3 million for FY 2016-17. Assessment District No. 1 was established in 1992 and is estimated to yield $1.6 million in FY 2016-17 from the $1.92 annual assessment levied per benefit unit. Assessment District No. 2 was established in 2004 to fund new and enhanced vector-control programs such as a fire ant program and an enhanced West Nile Virus suppression program; this Assessment District is estimated to yield $5.6 million from the $7.10 annual assessment levied per benefit unit.
Q: What is the annual budget for the District, and how is it allocated?
A: The District’s FY 2016-17 budget for its operating fund is $12,905,910. The Executive Department accounts for 8%, Administrative Services accounts for 10%, Scientific Technical Services accounts for 12%, Communications accounts for 14%, and Operations accounts for 56% of this budget.
Q: The County has grown. What has the District done to keep pace?
A: The District has expanded its full-time workforce from 20 field inspectors to 24 and has added six year-round part-time field staff to aid in mosquito abatement efforts. This expansion was part of a response to the needs of the County after the 2014 and 2015 West Nile Virus seasons. We have also added additional support staff in the Information Technology, Administrative Services and Communications/Community Outreach departments.