By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Revere is no different than any other city … it has rats, but Revere is the only city around that actually will help get rid of them.
Gloria DeSisto, who lives in the lower end of Reservior Avenue, came before the city council Monday night to talk about the rats wandering around the neighborhood.
She explained that three things need to be done to get a handle on the problem.
“Help them help us with more inspectors,” she said.
Nick Catinazzo, director of Municipal Inspections, told the City Council he has two full-time sanitary inspector and two part-time. He is comfortable that his level of staffing is fine.
“If I had 20 inspectors I still couldn’t solve the problem,” Catinazzo said.
DeSisto added that the demolition ordinance needs to include the identification of burrows and extermination. She suggested the use of non-toxic dry ice technology and she stressed the need for education. Proper dumpster use and storing of garbage is key. DeSisto suggested putting a multi-language notice in the tax bills.
Catinazzo agreed with her. He added that the problem is not just in one neighborhood. Construction at several sites on Broadway, the construction of the McKinley School, and water and sewer work have disrupted the rats.
Laura Rodriguez, also of Reservior Avenue, said her parents were attacked by rats.
“Rodents are the nastiest thing ever. My kids don’t play in the yard because they’ve seen them.”
“It’s not just this area of the city. It’s in Point of Pines, West Revere,” Catinazzo said. “You have to keep your yard perfectly clean, but your neighbor may not.”
Ward 4 Councillor Stephen Reardon showed pictures taken on Vinal Street by resident Steve Pizzi. One dumpster wide open, an overfilled trash receptacle at an eating establishment and another overflowing trash container outside of another shop that sells food. Catinazzo said there are 300 dumpsters in the city.
Reardon himself greeted a rat one night on Vane Street when he and his wife were sitting outside.”
There are trash and dumpster ordinances fines for improper storage of trash and they start at $25 a day. Catizanno said the city could also look into having attached flip-lid trash barrels. City Council President John Powers said there should be higher fines for absentee landlords. He also noted that the city’s population went up by 5,000 since 2005.
Alex Johnson, of A&J Pest Control, who puts out bait boxes around the city said the rats are known as Norway rats, common in sewers and sidewalks.
“All they need is food, water and shelter,” Johnson said, adding that in addition to baiting he also uses snap traps. “No one has a silver bullet.”
Catinazzo said last year’s rat problem was bigger than this year.
“The city of the Revere is the only city that goes out and helps people.” Catinazzo said, while explaining how in the past they have given property owners a second round of bait for free but they can no longer afford to do that. There are simply too many properties to bait and there is only a $15,000 budget to tackle the problem. “We are surrounded by marsh and state land that the state doesn’t take care of.”