Funding for pest control activities has increased significantly in recent years. The preliminary budget proposes $16.3 million for pest control activities in the Department of Health in 2001, a 12 percent increase over expenditures in 2000. Even though spending between 2001 and 2004 is projected to remain flat, the pest control budget has increased significantly in recent years. Spending in 2000 is 25 percent more than the prior year and is almost 2.5 times greater than it was in 1995.
The pest control budget is divided between two main functions: rodent and mosquito control. Spending for rodent control services makes up the majority of pest control expenditures. In 1998, the Mayor introduced the Comprehensive Rodent Control Initiative (CRCI) a rodent control and extermination program that targets the city's most infested neighborhoods. As a result, expenditures in 1998 increased by 63 percent to $9.8 million. Total rodent control expenditures for the current year are projected to be $12.0 million, with $4.5 million for general rodent control activities and $7.5 million for CRCI. The initiative was set to phase-out by the end of this fiscal year, but it has been renewed for 2001 through 2004 and will continue to be financed annually with $5.2 and $2.3 million in city and state funds, respectively.
The Department of Health (DOH) recently launched the Vector Control Program (VCP) to prevent and track mosquito-borne diseases. In January, $2.7 million in VCP funds were added to the current year's funding to begin surveillance, education, and control activities. In addition $9.5 million was spent by the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management to address the West-Nile Virus outbreak last summer.
Starting with 2001, the VCP program will be funded at an annual level of $4.4 million. If there is an outbreak, this summer it is likely that additional funds will be allocated as they were in the summer of 1999.
In addition, the preliminary DOH capital budget earmarks over $3.0 million to establish computer-aided surveillance and tracking systems as well as to build the infrastructure of this new program.
For more information about this issue, please contact Rebecca Hernandez, a Budget and Policy Analyst, at (212) 442-8619.