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Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

SPENCER — During its Tuesday meeting, Spencer Mayor Jonathan Williams asked for an update on a reported rat problem on the 400 block of South Iredell Street.

Code enforcement officer James Osborne told the town’s Board of Aldermen he conducted a block survey with environmental services company and spoke to every homeowner from South Iredell to South Carolina Avenue. Osborne said residents seeing rat issues seem to live near properties that need to be better maintained. The problem is not as widespread as he initially thought.

Osborne said the area can see a rat population reduction by cleaning up properties and using pest control on their properties.

“There are properties on that block that definitely need some attention,” Osborne said.

The town wanted to pursue plant bait stations, Osborne said, that could help as well.

Town Manager Peter Franzese said the town is collecting educational material and envisions hosting a community meeting so people can come and learn about the topic as well as get a list of people interested in placing control measures on their properties.

“That’s where they need to be is on the private property,” Franzese said.

Williams asked about one property in particular, without naming the address, the town is looking to abate.

Osborne said the town is sending a second notice to the owner to set up a hearing, speak to the owner and establish an agreed-upon method of abating the issue.

If the owner does not show, Osborne said, he would have 30 days to appeal in superior court before the town moves to abate the issue.

In other news from the meeting:

• Betsy Mowery, director of development for the North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation, presented the museum’s annual funding request to the board.

Mowery said the museum attracted 158,000 visitors in 2019 and had a $22.2 million economic impact to Rowan County. The pandemic changed that, and the museum was forced to close as well as cancel all its events. It has slowly been reopening as changes have been passed down by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Mowery requested $2,500 for the museum’s marketing efforts to help bring people back to the museum

Williams said this is a good opportunity to partner with the museum given the town’s ongoing rebranding process. The board approved adding the funding request to its upcoming budget considerations.

• Local marketing firm Miller Davis walked the town through its upcoming website overhaul, which is expected to be complete soon. The website incorporates the town’s new logo throughout with an updated layout, navigation features and active business directory.

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