RIDGELAND — Aldermen and department heads hammered out final details during their regularly scheduled work session last week for the 2019 budget.

Aldermen had two final question mark items for Public Works Director Mike McCollum: mosquito spraying and street sweeping.

The city currently does its own spraying, paying nearly $16,000 in chemicals alone. The city currently pays about $103,000 to do spraying in-house.

McCollum said he had estimates to get spraying done by a contractor for around $120,000 for complete and dedicated coverage.

“Right now we use a blanket a spray that basically kills everything,” McCollum said. ‘This would be more targeted which means it leaves the good bugs alive and they offer a variety of other services to show progress and track populations.”

Mayor Gene F. McGee said that he liked the idea of contracting out for a more targeted approach.

“We are basically looking at a less than $25,000 increase to get more than we already have,” he said.

Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin asked if they would be easy to get a hold of in the case that spraying proved ineffective or inadequate.

“They would respond like we would,” McCollum said.

Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith asked how they knew that they were reputable and were not “just spraying water.”

McCollum said that he was looking at reputable contractors used by other municipalities.

Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey said he liked the proposed benefits and had no problem “trying them for a year.”

Smith said he did not want to get into something like their current street sweeping contract with Crystal Clean, the next item for discussion.

McCollum said that they could lease their own sweeper for $49,485 with a $49,000 balloon payment to buy the sweeper after a year. Their current contract with Crystal Clean is budgeted at $75,000. The difference would be returned to the general fund.

McCollum said he already had a driver in mind and would calculate the increase in personnel costs for the final proposed budget.

McCollum said that the leasing company would offer maintenance plans on the sweeper and would give the city a loaner if it was out for more than 20 days.

McGee said that sounded like a “long time” to have a sweeper out of commission.

McCollum said that they had an older model sweeper that could do the job during downtime.

The public hearing for the FY 2019 budget is scheduled for Sept. 4.