AUGUSTA — City councilors unanimously passed a bedbug ordinance Thursday.

Councilors passed the ordinance, which at previous meetings has been the subject of extensive debate and discussion, without debate and without any members of the public speaking for or against it.

City Manager William Bridgeo said the ordinance will take effect 30 days from the vote.

The bedbug ordinance approved Thursday is a permanent version similar to an ordinance adopted as an emergency measure May 5. The ordinance gives the city the authority to require landlords to bring in pest management professionals to exterminate bedbugs when an infestation is discovered. It also requires tenants to notify their landlords if they know or suspect there is an infestation of the blood-sucking bugs in their rental unit and prohibits them from trying to treat the infestation themselves.

The emergency ordinance was adopted after a bedbug infestation was discovered by city workers in April at two Water Street boarding homes.

The permanent ordinance was modified after officials met with a group of stakeholders, including landlords, property managers, tenant advocates, pest control workers and state health officials.


“This has been the subject of a couple of informational meetings and then a meeting of stakeholders to craft this with the city — professionals, landlords, exterminators — and this is their finished product,” Mayor David Rollins said of the process Thursday.

Bridgeo said the ordinance draft hasn’t been changed since the permanent version was first proposed.

That will be a couple of weeks after the emergency ordinance expires, so there will be at least a brief period when the city returns to having no bedbug provisions in city ordinances.

Bridgeo said Tuesday that doesn’t concern him, in large part because he doesn’t expect the city to need to use the bedbug ordinance except in cases of a severe infestation about which a landlord or others involved fail to take action.

He said the city didn’t end up needing to invoke any of the provisions of the emergency ordinance in the Water Street infestation because the firm which owns the buildings, River City Realty, was cooperative and the situation is being addressed.

Bedbugs also were found recently in the General Assistance suite at Augusta City Center, forcing the temporary relocation of some services to other parts of the building.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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