ENNIS – The city of Ennis began spraying Tuesday night for the third time this year to control mosquitoes that may be carrying the west Nile Virus.

“This will be the third spraying and the fifth area in the city to be sprayed,” City Manager Steve Howerton said during Monday’s city commission meeting. “To date there have been no reported cases of West Nile in Ennis and we are the only city in the county to spray.”

The Texas Department of Health provided Howerton with information showing there have been seven reported cases of the disease in Ellis County. One case each has been reported in Midlothian and Red Oak. Two cases were reported in Waxahachie and three confirmed West Nile cases in Ferris.

The area sprayed Tuesday is bordered on the north by Sundale and Lyndale, the southern border is W. Ennis Ave., the east boundary is N. Clay and the west border is Lake Clark. The Spraying began around 9:30 p.m. and was completed in three to four hours.

Howerton cautioned while the fine mist of insecticide should not cause any adverse effects to citizens, people with sensitive pre-existing medical conditions should stay indoors during spraying times.

“No further sprayings are scheduled unless a mosquito is captured for testing or a citizen tests positive for the disease. At that time, that area of the city will be sprayed,” Howerton said.

The first action item before the commission was to consider a proposed tax rate for the 2012-2013 year budget. The city’s staff proposed a 69.5 percent tax rate per $100 property valuation.

“This proposed tax rate will raise more total taxes than last year’s rate by $251,035. This is a 2.7 percent increase,” Howerton said.

In addition to the increase, the city will also see a $289,562 tax revenue increase from new property added to the city’s tax rolls.  

The first reading of the ordinance to consider the new tax rate will be heard at the first regular meeting in September. The final consideration for approval will be at the Sept. 17 meeting.

The new tax rate and the schedule for the reading of the ordinance to implement were unanimously approved.

Also, a change order for the 2012 Street Program contract between the city and the contractor  was unanimously approved by the commissioners.

Howerton explained the city’s engineering firm reviewed the materials required to complete the road project.

“The contract for excavation was 7,762 cubic yards. This amount was reduced to 5,418 cubic yards. In addition, Freese and Nichols corrected the amount of material from 7,175 tons to 7,315 tons. The adjustments total a reduction is $57,720,” Howerton said. “The reduction lowers the project’s cost to $4,166,000.”

Three appointments to boards and commissions were approved by the commission.

Jake Holland and Bill Vitovsky were both unanimously approved to the Planning and Zoning Commission to fill vacant seats. Darrell Hopper was unanimously approved to join the Historical Board.