Independent Councillor Dan Kerr, said some homes in the borough have a persistent problem with vermin and called on the local authority to be more proactive in tackling the situation.
“All Council is currently able to do is investigate and advise on how to minimise the risk of vermin around their house,” said Cllr Kerr.
“I believe we should be more proactive around this issue and assemble a dedicated team to remove vermin.”
Council’s Chair, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan, said that given the zero per cent increase in rates it would make it “very difficult” to establish a unit to do that job.
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Council’s director of public health and infrastructure, Mark Kelso, said a report could be brought forward to committee detailing the viability of such a proposal.
“It would require a significant resource input but we can bring a report through to update members,” he said.
UUP councillor Derek McKinney asked how “a few buckets of rat poison” was prevented by a zero increase in the rates given “all those millions we have in our reserves”.
Councillor Barry Monteith seconded Cllr Kerr’s proposal and told the chamber he was of the belief it is something Council should explore.
“I don’t think anybody is saying this should be a service that is free to all service users, there are other services we provide that we charge a fee to the public and we could build in a system that allows for people on low income get a reduced fee,” said Cllr Monteith.
“I do think we need to look at it. A lot of our elderly people have had environmental health out to speak to them and a few of them told me they have been told to contact private exterminators.
“There are people going round the doors pretending to be exterminators, even if we can build a confidence in people that they know they are dealing with reputable people.
“I would like to see an extermination service but I think at the very least we should be able to point people towards reputable providers.”