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Bedbugs still an issue for apartment complex

Housing Authority says problem being dealt with, council urges speedy resolution

— The director of the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority has hired an insect specialist to help construct a long-term plan to handle the ongoing bedbug infestation at Stonequist Apartments.

Ed Spychalski told the City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 20, that an entomologist has been hired to train Stonequist employees on how to treat the 176-unit apartment complex for bedbugs, explaining “there’s a difference between an exterminator who takes a three-week course” and a person who studies the bugs professionally.

The decision to hire the professional came five months after Spychalski first heard of the bug problem in July. This was a concern for council members who asked housing authority officials to update them about the situation.

Accounts Commissioner John Franck asked if the Housing Authority had known about the bugs for so long, why were they still a problem.

“The feeling I got in my discussion is that it is considerably worse than you are saying,” he said.

Dennis Brunelle, the chairman of the Housing Authority's Board of Commissioners, said the bugs were not a major issue and the building does not have an infestation like residents have claimed. “We are doing everything reasonable to contain it,” he said.

Spychalski told the council the problem has gotten worse over the last two months and only one resident reported having the bugs in July. He said now nine residents have reported having the bugs, but others may have them and not reported the problem to maintenance.

The council was not told how employees would be better equipped to deal with the bugs after being trained by the entomologist but Teresa Grocki, a resident who first reported the issue to the city, said she saw white powder being spread around the baseboards of the complex.

By her count, 18 apartments still have the bugs and she has passed the information along to U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson’s office. She said as recently as Sunday, Dec. 18 she saw an adult bug in her bathtub. She has been capturing the ones she sees and keeping them in jars.

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