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Rat problem frustrates Coaldale officials

Published April 19. 2010 05:00PM

Coaldale Borough council is frustrated that it cannot take more effective action to eradicate a rat problem on W. Ridge Street.

Ruthanne Kehl of 134 W. Ridge spoke at a public council meeting Tuesday, saying she was concerned about a property at 132 W. Ridge St.

She said there were dead rats lying on the property, and holes in the foundation.

They're coming on to my side. I'm sure they are going to take over if they are not taken care of," she said. She said a woman with three children lives in the house. Garbage is strewn on the back porch and in the basement, she said. The rats, Kehl said, "are going to multiply."

She called borough code enforcement officer Mark Richards, who came to inspect, but said there was nothing he could do unless he talked to the homeowner. Richards did cite the occupant for the garbage, however.

Councilman Joseph Hnat sympathized with Kehl, but said the borough's hands are tied. "I wish we could go in and take the place apart, but we can't," he said.

Solicitor Michael Greek said Kehl could bring a civil action against the neighbor. Further, if she fails to comply with the citations and pay the fines, the borough could send the matter to a district judge. "If there are rats, it could be considered a danger to the community at large," he said. A borough clean up would be a last resort, he said.

In a related matter, Kehl and other W. Ridge Street residents complained about flooding on the street between Fifth and Sixth streets.

Also on Tuesday, Council agreed to donate up to $1,000 to replace American flags in town from Phillips Street to Bull Run, and from Third Street to High Street. Secretary Louise Lill said the funds are avialable in the borough's Improvement Fund account.

Jimmy Rickert of the Coaldale American Legion approached council to ask if the borough would help buy the 85 flags. Rickert said the VFW and Lions Club were also on board with the project. Rickert said the estimated cost would be $45.20 per pole - $3,842.

"This is just the rough cost. This is not the final cost," he said.

Rickert also said the Legion wants to turn the flags over to the borough, which would then take responsibility for putting the flags up and taking them down and making sure they are in good condition.

He said a flag committee should be formed; Councilman Andrew Girard will serve on that committee.

The flags will be up from Memorial Day through July 4, Rickert said. Previously, the flags were up through Labor Day. However, Rickert said, "it takes a big toll on the flags to leave them up that extra two months."

Also on Tuesday, Council agreed to sell a police cruiser to the highest bidder, Ronald Winkelvoss of Wallingford, Delaware County, for $2,776. Winkelvoss would have to come pick up the car, however. if he doesn't, the car would go to the next-highest bidder, Grace Quality Used Cars, a police car dealership which has a branch in the Philadelphia area.

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