St. Clair Shores Considers Bounty as Part of Rat Abatement Program
St. Clair Shores City Council heard a series of proposals Monday to attack the city's rodent program that includes a baiting program and a $5 per-rat bounty program.
St. Clair Shores City Council heard a series of proposals this week to address concerns about rodents in the city including a $5-per-rat bounty program.
The bounty program was one of the more controversial proposals in the discussion between city council and acting city manager Mike Smith.
Under the proposal brought to council, only rats trapped in St. Clair Shores by residents would be eligible for redemption.
"We are attempting to do what we can," said Mayor Kip Walby, who added that he is open to all suggestions in the city's efforts to address the rodent problem. "We understand we have problem and we are trying to fix it."
The rats, which would be placed in individual clear plastic bags, would then be brought to the DPW. Residents would then be paid only after the city received permission to inspect and bait the property where the rodent was trapped.
"This program is not intended to become a hunting program," Smith said. "It is a work in progress."
When Councilwoman Candice Rusie spoke out against the program for the safety of Department of Public Works employees and the image of the city.
"I don’t think this is a good image to put out there for St. Clair Shores," Rusie said. "I don’t think this will help with marketing the city."
Walby, who stressed all the proposals are in the preliminary stages, added that the city has received negative press by local media outlets regarding rodents in the city.
"We get a lot of bad press with rodents," Walby said.
Councilman Peter Rubino stated that he has received a number of calls regarding rodents and was wrestling with the bounty program.
"I would rather be on the news saying we are trying to get rid of the rats than saying we are not doing anything," he said.
Councilman Chris Vitale added that St. Clair Shores is not alone in the problem with rats.
"We know all these cities surrounding us are having problems with this right now," Vitale said. "We are being proactive. We are thinking outside of the box."
St. Clair Shores is also considering an expansion of the inspection and baiting program throughout the city and new 96-gallon garbage cans.
"The major goal of this program is to eliminate where these rodents live," Smith said. "You have got to take care of where they live."