Bed bug problem in 2 Erie Co. buildings

Bed Bug Problems In 2 Erie County Buildings

BUFFALO, N.Y. - An e-mail sent out to Erie County employees early Tuesday morning warns that the 3rd floors of both the Rath Building and the family court building are set to be treated by a pest control company.

2 On Your Side went straight to Erie County's elected officials to find out what's going on and how much this is going to cost taxpayers.

Erie County Comptroller, Stefan Mychajliw, showed us inside the Rath Building, on the 11th floor where the Comptroller's office is located.

Despite being one of the 10 floors in the 18 floor building already sprayed for bed bugs this summer, there are still bug traps in many of the offices.

When we asked if the bed bug situation is improving, Mychajliw said no, "It's disgusting.  It's despicable," he said. 

2 On Your Side called the County Executive's office requesting an interview with Mark Poloncarz, but we were told he was not available to answer our questions.

Instead a county spokesperson responded by giving us information we already reported this summer.

Erie County paid Ashland Pest Control nearly $4,000 as of mid-August to spray inside the Rath Building and 1500 Broadway.

Since Ashland is paid on a monthly basis to treat and spray as needed, the spokesperson says another summary of the total money spent won't be available until the end of September.

"We are now almost a year after they found bed bugs in the building and they're constantly spraying," explains Comptroller Mychajliw. "They're not solving the problem." The comptroller is pointing the finger at county administrators.

We reached out to the County Executive again, for his reaction to Mychajliw's statements, but didn't get a response.

Mychajliw tells 2 On Your Side the audit division is now working on a report on the infestation. The hope is to provide it to the county legislators, by the end of this week, complete with concerns from county employees about the bugs and treatment chemicals in the building as well as recommendations on other ways to address the infestation.

The comptroller admits they don't have any quotes yet from exterminators on how much other forms of treatment or fumigation might cost.

But Mychajliw, who monitors and reports how the county dollars are spent, says there is currently a surplus in the county. He believes that could be used, or the budget from buildings and grounds, to pay for other solutions to deal with the bed bugs. But that decision is ultimately up to county legislators.

"I don't want to be in that position where we're going to have to pay for lawsuits or the fumigation of someone's home when they just visit the Rath Building to conduct business," Mychajliw tells Channel 2.  "That is a huge concern, especially one for our county attorney."

The e-mail sent to county employees about the spraying in the Rath Building and family court explained that it was supposed to happen at 5pm on Tuesday, but it was postponed.  2 On Your Side confirmed it's definitely still happening, but Erie County is now waiting for the pest control company to set a new date and time.
 

© 2017 WGRZ-TV


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