Petition requesting Brookline to fully fund rodent mitigation
We the undersigned residents and merchants of Brookline urge the Select Board and Town Administrator to continue to address the rodent crisis by fully funding the town’s Rodent Control Action Plan (RCAP) and all other steps needed to solve the rodent crisis today, in FY2024 and beyond. No resident or business should suffer the health and quality of life consequences that large rodent populations bring. Although this crisis has many causes and is broader than Brookline, we seem to have lagged behind others in Greater Boston. We need to urgently address this problem.
Every publication, government or private website, and pest control company concludes that food sources are the major factor in rodent proliferation. Rats rarely travel >100 yards from their food source. They are very intelligent. Rats seek nice homes to nest, which is rarely the same as the food source because waste receptacles are usually on paved surfaces that lack the amenities rats want in a home.
Therein lies the problem. Residents can’t eliminate rats on their property until better waste storage and disposal on adjacent properties is achieved. Town government needs to stop blaming homeowners and stop asking us to subsidize pest control for those responsible for food sources. Instead, we need to seek an integrated approach that first focuses on eliminating food sources. Brookline rodent complaint statistics presented at public meetings indicate that the vast majority cluster around commercial properties (especially food purveyors) and apartments, followed by construction sites and parks.
We look forward to seeing how the new regulations covering solid waste and outdoor dining address these problems and we request the opportunity to provide input.
We commend the efforts of the heads of the Health and Public Works Departments, Sigalle Reiss and Erin Gallentine, and their coworkers who spent many hours generating a comprehensive plan of attack for the rodent crisis now and in the future. We appreciate Town Administrator Chas Carey for addressing residents’ concerns regarding the rodent crisis and the Select Board for funding the first phase of the RCAP. We thank our fellow residents and Town Meeting members for bringing the rodent crisis to the attention of town officials, especially the authors of warrant article 3 of the second TM of Nov 2022.
The rodent crisis requires everyone to share responsibility - individuals, businesses and the town.
What we want:
1) Full funding and implementation of the Rodent Control Action Plan (RCAP), especially equipment.
2) Furthermore, approval of all funds beyond RCAP necessary to solve the rodent crisis. We understand that Brookline’s budget is tight, but this is a basic service that every local government should provide to maintain the health and emotional well-being of its residents, and the desirability of our town for merchants, residents, visitors and prospective newcomers.
3) Adding more Health Department and DPW staff dedicated to inspection of food establishments and solid waste complaints at all residences, parks and businesses. Due to the crisis nature of the current rodent problem, we request additional staff beyond those described in RCAP. These positions could potentially be filled by consultants or temps until the crisis is under control.
4) Imposing outdoor dining and construction project fees ear-marked specifically for rodent control.
5) Substantially increasing fines for food establishments that have been cited repeatedly.
6) Replacing all public trash bins with Big Belly bins or other rodent proof receptacles.
7) Increasing staff and equipment dedicated to emptying public trash bins before they are overflowing. What good are smart bins if they can’t be emptied after signaling?
8) Strengthening trash storage and disposal regulations, especially for all non town trash services.
9) Increasing fines for improper storage and disposal of solid waste. Make it hurt for repeat offenders.
10) Food brings rats. Implement a shared responsibility system where food sources are fined and not the adjacent residential properties with nests. Pest control costs are enough of a burden.
11) We ask the town to negotiate a group discount price for residential pest control or to subsidize lower income residents, especially for methods that don’t use rodenticides.
12) We ask the town to explore the use of rat birth control and other methods that are not harmful to the environment or other living organisms, and to negotiate groups discounts for residents.
Organized by Citizens Rodent Point of Contacts for the Brookline Health Department
Please fill in the following information to sign the petition. This information will only be provided to the Brookline Select Board.