The Board of Aldermen is considering amendments to the city’s rodent control ordinance that would increase penalties for those found in violation of the official rules and guidelines.

By Jim Clark

The City of Somerville’s Board of Aldermen once again took a look at the issue of rodent control at their latest meeting, this time examining the possibilities of increasing penalties and fines for those who do not follow established guidelines in the ongoing battle against rodent infestation.

An amendment to the current ordinances governing these guidelines was proposed by Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang.

In the first of two Aldermanic Ordinances, Niedergang asked for the Board’s Committee on Legislative Matters to amend Section 1 -11, “Penalties and violations” of the City Code of Ordinances to increase the fines on Rodent Control from first offense $50, second offense $100, third and subsequent offense $300 to first offense $100, second offense $300, third and subsequent offense $500.

A second amendment request asks that the same section of the City Code of Ordinances increase the fines on trash outside of places of business from first offense $50, second offense $100, third and subsequent offense $300 to first offense $100, second offense $300, third and subsequent offense $500.

Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang would like to see stiffer penalties for ordinance violations.

Niedergang shared a personal experience with members of the Board that led him to sponsoring the amendments:

“I had dinner at the Highland Kitchen with a friend a couple of Sunday nights ago and he parked in the parking lot across the street, in the Dunkin’ Donuts and other retail businesses’ parking lot,” Niedergang began. “And when we came out after dinner, there was this huge pile of donuts and muffins right in front of the dumpster on the street. It’s like perfect rat food. I mean it was huge.”

Niedergang said that he contacted Inspectional Services the next day, and the business in violation was subsequently cited and they cleaned up the area.

The alderman followed up by sending an email to Inspectional Services, which in part stated that it was too bad that the fine was only $50. “It would be great if the fine was more,” Niedergang said, “So I though why not? If we have a huge rat problem in our city why should the first fine for doing something like this, leaving your garbage out be only $50? I mean, let’s really hit people with it, so it hits them where it hurts and so that they change their behavior.”

Niedergang further pointed out that “$50 is pocket change for a lot of people.”

Finding no opposition to the proposed amendments by the Board, the request was referred to the Committee on Legislative Matters for further review and recommendations.

 

14 Responses to “City seeks to increase fines and penalties for rodent control violations”

  1. Matt C says:

    There is a big difference between citing a homeowner $50 vs citing a business. If we treated them differently I can see value in the change- but if they are the same I would have to stand against it. Even with the current fee structure I would be surprised if there was an appropriate level of enforcement within large developments and business districts.

  2. Ruth says:

    I live near one of the Somerville Community Corporation’s buildings and the dumpsters are overflowing at least twice a week. We’ve called and complained numerous times, but nothing seems to change.

  3. DatGruntled says:

    Ruth, SCC is great about telling other people what to do, nto so good about actually following rules themselves.

  4. DatGruntled says:

    Also, Ruth, most of the Board of Aldermen are in their pocket, so do not expect change.

  5. Somerbreeze says:

    This vitriol against SCC is basically fear of positive social change cloaked in complaints.

  6. DatGruntled says:

    “This vitriol against SCC is basically fear of positive social change cloaked in complaints.”

    No, it is the fact that they push an agenda they themselves do not follow and they lie and fear monger to get their way.

    This is mostly their board, the people that actually work there seem fine.

  7. The Know says:

    Four members of the board of aldermen are former presidents of the scc board of directors

  8. Courtney O'Keefe says:

    The affiliation that some members of the Board of Aldermen have and or had with the Somerville Community Corporation concerns me when the approval of CPA projects are presented. Considering the close connection of these members, I always felt it prudent to have them recuse themselves, however, Conflict of Interest laws disagree.

  9. rodents says:

    Why won’t the city acknowledge their part in this problem, as well as all of the developers? We’ve been given ‘rodent’ proof barrels, but mine have had holes chewed in the top by something, I hope it’s a squirrel or raccoon! And allowing people to keep chickens in their yard? Their food and their feces attracts rodents. Just like dog feces does, yet the barrels at the parks and the bike path are filled to overflowing all weekend with food and dog poop. And by the way, Mr. Niedergang, that lot where you and your friend parked while at Highland Kitchen is a private lot for Dunkin’ Donuts and Once. Hmmmm, maybe the city needs more public parking lots??

  10. Chris says:

    Courtney is right. Looking through cpa projects – you will find scc being approved for all they put through.

  11. DatGruntled says:

    “The affiliation that some members of the Board of Aldermen have and or had with the Somerville Community Corporation concerns me when the approval of CPA projects are presented.”

    There is also their disdain for the open meeting laws.

  12. Macintosh says:

    “There is also their disdain for the open meeting laws.”

    If you think it is bad now just wait until the fab five get up there. All I want for christmas is for certain aldermen and school committee chumps to get busted for violating the open meeting laws.

  13. Somerbreeze says:

    @ DatGruntled – Obvious that you’ve not only got a bee in your bonnet, but your incessant postings suggest a hidden agenda of some kind.

  14. DatGruntled says:

    “@ DatGruntled – Obvious that you’ve not only got a bee in your bonnet, but your incessant postings suggest a hidden agenda of some kind.”

    What is hidden? I think SCC does a lot of good work. I also think their board and a lot of the former members use lies and other methods I find reprehensible to to get their way. I do not believe the ends always justify the means.

    The SCC, along with Our Revolution use the same methods and even borrow tactics from Breitbart when they tried to get Payton in for Mayor, until they dropped him.

    I am far from Joe’s biggest supporter, but I find things like repeated claims that he is in FRIT’s pocket to be without merit.

    I dislike the SCC screaming that they were unhappy with the FRIT deal while pocketing $10 mil that they are allowed to use to pay their own salary. If they did not like it, why not just turn down the $10 mil and tell the city to go back to the drawing board? The had their cake and ate it too. Matt from Ward 1 is even funnier. Screams up and down how bad the deal was and how it never should have happened and then lists it as one of his accomplishments on his re-election campaign.

    Now I am just waiting to see what they do as Union Square progresses. And for the record, I was against the use of eminent domain (said so to the mayor in several public meetings) and do not think US2 is the best partner for the city and should be held to a high standard and booted if they refuse to meet it.

    I guess I could have summed this up with I hate hypocrites and it only gets worse when they act self righteous on top of it.

    If replying to you makes my postings incessant, I am not sure how to reconcile that with you. As for a hidden agenda, I am speaking my mind pretty openly. what about you? Each of your posts seem to just be an attempt to discredit without actually refuting or stating your own views.

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