I know all too well that our city is experiencing a problem with rats.   There is now a complex burough system of rats right behind my building that has been hard to eradicate and I understand the concern of residents regarding this problem.  The presence of rats, besides posing a health issue, greatly impacts negatively on our quality of life.
Right now, the city is in a reactive mode when it comes to rat mitigation and is taking a number of sensible steps.  While I appreciate the effort, as councilperson, I plan to take a more proactive approach to pest control, focusing heavily on rats, but also looking at  the entire ecosystem of animals and insects that find Hoboken as appealing as we do.  
Private/Public Partnership
First, it's important that any effort needs to be conducted jointly between the City and private owners.  The property owner is the first line of defense against all infestations.  But the City has a role in proper maintenance of its property, proper planning regarding construction and development, developing best practices and communicating those practices, and monitoring and enforcing the City's code.  Stricter code enforcement with effective penalties is a must.
As your councilperson, I will advocate for the following:
With complex issues, solutions need dedicated attention and expertise.  I propose that the City hire an Animal Ecology Manager.  It would be similar to NYC's "rat czar", but with a wider role to consider the entire ecology of Hoboken.  We have rats, mice, skunks, geese, even some fox and coyotes lately, and our latest pest - the spotted lantern flies  (Hoboken's diversity doesn't just exist among its residents!)   An ecology manager would be responsible for monitoring our animal and insect populations, identifying and mitigating risk factors before an infestation occurs, developing best practices and communicating those to private property owners, and implementing them at the City level.
Waste Management
Pests like rats are drawn by the organic material in our garbage, primarily food waste.    Good garbage containment is the primary preventative measure.  The City has already taken a number of steps to require and enforce better containment practices.  But I believe the fact of how and where garbage is stored is an overlooked aspect of the city's planning process when new businesses seek approval or when commercial space is being built out.   My building's infestation is in part due to the new use of garbage storage space, which was previously only for residential use, by a new dining establishment.  The restaurant is not at fault, but the approval process should have considered their garbage needs and required the garbage solution that is now in place from the get go.   
We also need to continue to reduce organic waste sitting on the streets.  The City's compost options are largely limited to individuals.  (I am personally a devoted composter).  The city needs to work with restaurants, large buildings, and any property managing a garbage stream to develop and incentivize compost options, and make enabling composting a priority for new development.  Containing and managing a smaller volume of pure organic waste is easier than containing the entire waste stream.
Any successful prevention and mitigation program will require monitoring and enforcement of City code. Our ecology manager will be responsible for maintaining data on local animal population and locations.   For example, rat trapping options now include technology features that can track the number of rats being caught, and the data can be mapped and used to identify problem areas earlier.   
Our new ecology manager will be educating and creating policies that enable and incentivize best practices.   But, inevitably, we will also need enforcement.  I will advocate for code enforcement officers who specifically focus on this problem, and be responsible for inspections for restaurants and parkletts and other businesses that create organic waste like daycare facilities or schools.  We also need to increase the fines for violations and crack down on repeat offenders.
We can all do our part to get the rat problem under control by taking care to ensure proper disposal of our garbage, making sure our buildings are doing so properly, and reporting any infestation to ratreport@hobokennj.gov.But solving this problem will require sustained stepped up action from the City, and I plan to see the solutions implemented and sustained as your councilperson.
Marla Decker
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Paid for by Marla Decker for Hoboken City Council Ward 2
1500 Garden St.
Hoboken, NJ 07030