St. Clair Shores city manager says rat bills were database error

St. Clair Shores accidentally bills 40 homeowners for rat abatement services as rodent problem in city grows

ST. SLAIR SHORES, Mich. - At Gilbert's Hardware store on Harper Avenue they are having a tough time keeping shelves stocked with rat poison and rat traps.

That's thanks to what many call a growing rat problem in St. Clair Shores neighborhoods.

"We normally would sell 10 or 20 bags of rat poison a month. It's getting to the point right now where we're selling 300 bags of rat poison a month," said Blair Gilbert.

Rebecca Platt says the rat problem is so bad in some of the city's neighborhoods that she started a Facebook page dedicated to it.

"Absurd. It's obnoxious. It's horrifying," she said. "You don't have one rat. You have at least 10, 12 underneath your house."

Homeowners say when they went to the city for help they ended up getting billed $115 for bait boxes, $15 for rodent inspections and a $100 administrative fee. City Manager Ben Hughes says those bills were a huge mistake.

"There were several residents who did receive services from us for rat abatement. Approximately 40 homes, who never should have been billed, erroneously were mailed out," said Hughes. "It was a database error. We've notified those residents. They are not going to be billed."

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