You can make all the jokes you want to about rats, but the truth is that the city’s neighborhoods have a terrible infestation of them all over and something needs to be done.
Monday night Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe and Councillor George Rotondo both put in motions for the city to take some action.
“This is a public health issue,” Rotondo said.
Keefe wants the Board of Health and Inspectional Services to address the city council with a plan. Rotondo wants city officials to purchase 2,000 bait boxes, or place box owls in problem areas and utilize sterilization techniques used on rats in New York City.
Keefe said over the past two years there has been several motions submitted relating to the rat problem, but no noticeable action has been taken.
“Do we have a funding issue or an enforcement issue,” Keefe asked.
Councillor Steven Morabito said right now the Health Department will bait an area once, the second time the homeowner pays.
“I think we need to work more quickly this year and be more aggressive,” he said.
Several residents of the Cooledge Street public housing complained to the council about the hundreds of rat holes on the property. One rat was so big it was mistaken for a cat by a resident. Councillors Rizzo, Novoselsky and Giannino shared rat encounter stories, including at the Susan B. Anthony School.
“This has become a real serious issue in the city,” said Ward 5 Councillor John Powers. “It’s not something new, it’s become more serious.”
Powers said the city used to have one person to handle the rodent complaints and he wondered if the city might have to go back to that.
“We have to address this like you would a crime spree,” Powers said.
There are several reasons why Revere is ripe for rats. First, the ground below is marsh. Second, road construction and new building construction stir up the rat colonies. Third, people are not doing enough to keep their trash secure.
“I hate to throw anybody under the bus but the Revere Housing Authority, I have in my neighborhood the Garfield Elliot projects and the barrels down there are always overflowing,” Novoselsky said.
Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch said he has made motions in the past regarding rats.
“The rat population has increased drastically,” he said. “And it’s only going to get worse.”
“I’ll take it one step further and say this is a public health crisis,” Rizzo said. “This is now exploding across the city. Right now you need 10,000 bait boxes. That’s how bad it is.”