Mayor Brian Arrigo announced on Monday night that he is undertaking taking aggressive steps to reduce the number of rats that many people are complaining about. Kicking the battle off is the mayor’s budget request for FY19 that includes $150,000 for pest/rodent management.
Part of the fund will go toward a uniform, trash-barrel program and an integrated pest management program. (See Mayor’s OpEd on Page 4.)
“Longstanding efforts to combat rodent infestation, overseen by the City’s Inspectional Services Department have existed,” Arrigo said. “The Department’s resources and manpower, however, have been insufficient to implement a large-scale approach to rodent control.”
He added beginning within a week several contractors will fan out to designated areas of the City and begin their assessment of the City’s rat problem. This is a mandatory first step to a comprehensive plan.
“During the next several months, the City will deliver heavy-duty 65-gallon covered trash barrel that will be required for municipal trash collection,” Arrigo said.
The City Council has heard story after story of rats, rat holes, rat burrows, how many little rats a female can have and just how plain tired people are in asking for the City to do something.
One property owner who spoke to the council Monday night said he saw on television that the City of Quincy has an aggressive program. He said he has rats on his property because his neighbors, who are tenants, have uncovered trash barrels that are attracting the rodents.
The man stated his neighbor has been fined, but when he looked up the fines in City Hall he found that much of it has not been collected. He suggested placing a lien on the property.
Council President Jessica Giannino said the city is looking at an aggressive approach which could include dry ice, and owls.
Stopping the rodents begins with getting rid of food sources. Food is the prime reason that rats live in and around structures. Overfilled barrels or dumpsters, trash stored in flimsy plastic bags, or trash placed in uncovered containers, are a virtual buffet table for a rat.
A rat can jump as high as 3 and one-half feet, so it is incumbent on every property owner to be sure that trash receptacles are covered and any food stored outdoors is kept in sturdy sealed containers. Dumpsters and trash barrels, as well as the areas where they are stored, should be kept reasonably clean and free of food scraps.
Water also invites rats. Dumpsters and barrels should be kept as far away from water sources as possible, and property owners should take steps to prevent against water pooling under air conditioners or gutters and downspouts.
Arrigo also encourages residents to contact 311 with any rat activity or burrows.
The city’s contracted vendors are Catseye Pest Control, B&B Pest Control, Eco-Systems Pest Management and MD Weaver Corporation.
Representatives of these companies will initiate initial contact with residents by distributing fliers and permission waivers to enter on to private property to inspect and assess the situation. No rat control activity will take place on private property unless the City has received the required permission form and waiver.