Bedbug treatment to begin next month

Published 8:18 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The company hired to treat bedbugs at the Chorey Park Apartments will begin its work in mid-October.

Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority Executive Director Tracey Snipes told the board of commissioners Tuesday that the work by Accurid Pest Solutions will start Oct. 15. Seven apartments that authority staff had heat treated will be treated by Accurid with chemicals “to round out the process,” Snipes said.

For the other 93 apartments in the building, Accurid will use a combination of heat and chemical treatment, she said, depending on the severity of the bedbug issue in each apartment. Snipes said there would also be monitors and traps installed in each unit that has a chronic bedbug problem.

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The commissioners approved a $100,400 contract with Accurid to rid the apartment building of bedbugs at a special meeting Sept. 17. They also approved a $500 payout to each Chorey Park household to assist residents with the treatment process. Payments are to be made 48 hours before the day of the first treatment.

Residents will be notified at least a week in advance of their apartments being treated, Snipes said, and at that time will receive instructions on preparing for the bedbug treatment.

She said residents will also be required to attend an educational workshop “to lessen the likelihood of the return of bedbugs.”

Accurid’s work will be done floor-by-floor, and the company will be treating two to four apartments per day. Residents will have to be out of their apartments for up to eight hours on the day of treatment.

She said a formal bedbug policy will be presented to the commissioners at their Oct. 22 meeting.

Snipes met with Dennis Gray of Accurid Pest Control Monday to discuss the work the company will do to treat the bedbugs.

The bedbug issue has dominated discussions among the commissioners and the authority amid tensions since the issue became public in July. The tensions boiled over at last week’s special meeting, when a censure resolution written by Commissioner Regina Hall and introduced by Commissioner Jeffrey Robertson passed by a 4-1 vote.

Board Chairman Ben Fitzgerald, Vice Chairman Quinton Franklin and authority attorney Delphine Carnes were formally censured for holding what the resolution said was an illegal meeting during a break at the regularly scheduled Aug. 24 meeting, and for telling commissioner Hall that she could not attend a closed session that was to take place later in that scheduled meeting.

Franklin was not at the special meeting last week when the censure vote was taken.

Robertson, along with commissioners Anthony Parker, Kenneth Campbell and Hall, voted for the censure resolution. Commissioner Deborah Hudson voted against the resolution, while commissioners Michael McBride and Clementine Cone abstained. There was no recorded vote for Fitzgerald.

Hall’s brother, Donte’ Hall, lives in Chorey Park and their sister, Veronica Hall, has been outspoken about the bedbug issue. Veronica Hall and their mother Geneva Hall, spoke during the public comment period of Tuesday’s meeting, in which Snipes later announced that Carnes had submitted her resignation. Carnes will stay on until the authority finds a new attorney, Snipes said.

Franklin took issue with the censure vote and said he did not like the “character assassination” that was implied with the censure. He said that since commissioner Hall was not forced into the meeting, she should have also been censured.

“I’m not asking you to redact your vote, because we did, in fact, speak to one another,” Franklin said. “There was three of us, but that’s what I want to bring about. There was three of us, including the attorney, the vice chairman, myself and the chairman (Fitzgerald) and Ms. Hall was in the meeting.”

While he said there was no talk of kicking Hall out of the closed meeting, Franklin did advise her that she might not want to sit in on it, and said he wasn’t trying to stand in the way of her helping her brother.

He said commissioner Hall had told him she was planning on recusing herself anyway, and that meeting then ended.

Franklin also accused commissioners of having illegal meetings in the parking lot to discuss items from their regular meetings and said that if he was to be censured, so should most of the commissioners on the board. He said he did not appreciate having his character maligned.

Hall responded by saying that like Franklin, she didn’t like having her own character being made an issue, and said her character speaks for itself after 11 years on the board.