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Rats can and do squeeze through holes as small as a quarter. -- Photo source: cdc.gov

Rats can and do squeeze through holes as small as a quarter. -- Photo source: cdc.gov

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Worth residents complain about rat infestation

By Joe Boyle

A group of Worth residents stated Tuesday night that a surge in the rodent population has them frustrated and disgusted and would like village officials to address the problem.

During the public forum segment of the Worth Village Board meeting, residents asked if the village could do more to eliminate the growing presence of rats. One resident complained about one home that had been previously vacant that he said is currently overrun by the rodents.

Mayor Mary Werner said she was aware of the home and a cleanup will begin of the property on Saturday.

“One of the problems is that the current owner could not enter the home the past couple of years due to COVID,” Werner said. “But we are going to go in there on Saturday to clean it up. Now, I don’t know if it is ever going to be inhabitable. Before that is decided, it has to be cleaned up. And then we will see.”

One woman passed out copies of photos to the trustees showing what rats have done to her home. She stated that she saw rats by her kitchen cabinets.

Another resident said that she knew someone who opened her front door and a rat raced into the home.

Trustee Brad Urban sympathized with these reports of rodents. Urban said that in the past he has set traps in his backyard to kill rats. However, he pointed out, that the rat population can be reduced.

“If there is a food source, they will come,” Urban said. “But when you take that away, then you can start to control it.”

Urban said that at one time residents could own chickens. He emphasized the presence of chickens ends up drawing the rodents, who share their food source. An ordinance has been since passed not allowing residents to own chickens.

Trustee Laura Packwood also warned residents who walk their dogs to clean up the feces they leave behind.

“I see people who don’t clean up the feces left by their dogs,” Packwood said. “This will draw rats.”

Some residents suggested the village should hire a rodent control company. However, Werner said that was not affordable right now.

“We have been talking to people about this for over four years,” Werner said. “A lot of people wouldn’t listen to us. I have heard that some people would actually throw their scraps of food in their backyards. That is going to attract rats. That’s why we had to pass an ordinance to eliminate bird feeders. The problem was getting worse.”

The mayor said that if residents work together, they can reduce the rodent population dramatically.

On a more positive note, the village board approved providing additional funding for the Worth Park District, which has been hampered financially due to the pandemic.

After a lengthy discussion, the board approved sending $30,000 to the park district to assist in making up for past revenue losses due to COVID-19.

“If we don’t take care of the parks, then the residents won’t use it,” Packwood said.

However, the funding will not become official until the April 19 meeting. A resolution will be drawn up and the board will then officially vote on providing the funds for the park district.

The board also approved an ordinance approving an agreement for telephone communications services between the village and First Communications LLC.

Ordinances authorizing the purchase of a lawn mower, a trailer, and a John Deere tractor were approved.

After a long discussion, the board also approved an amended ordinance to purchase an excavator outright. An amended ordinance was also approved to purchase two 2023 International trucks.

Urban, who is the head of the public works committee, said bacterial samples collected on March 9 and 29 by the water department were found to be satisfactory, according to the testing analysis performed by Environmental/Perry Labs Inc.

Only two water mains needed to repaired last month, Urban said. One was repaired in the 6500 block of Home Avenue while the other was in the 11400 block of Harlem Avenue.

Packwood, who is the head of the golf committee, said fish fry events will continue through Friday, April 29 at the Water’s Edge Golf Course clubhouse.

The board also approved a business license for Sharn’s Motel, 7240 Southwest Highway. Owner Naishil Patel said that at this time no changes are in store.

A business license was also approved for Shabaan, 6615 W. 111th St., Unit 1. Mufid Salah is the owner of the restaurant that will focus on shrimp.

“Oh, I like shrimp,” Packwood said.

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