Mattress bugs at Columbia Arms set off new coverage from Pittsfield Housing Authority | Central Berkshires


PITTSFIELD – Pittsfield Housing Authority will begin quarterly treatment of bed bugs in every apartment in the Columbia Arms building after employees found bed bugs in the building’s offices and a handful of apartments last month.

Members of the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday during a meeting in the building to have the treatments at a cost of $ 15,000 and to purchase a mattress cover for each Columbia Arms renter for $ 3,000.

Columbia Arms is home to 91 low-income and affordable housing units for elderly residents and residents with disabilities.

The board also approved the distribution of a leaflet about bed bugs to each PHA resident.

“It’s like a mole, you’re being taken [the bugs] in one place and they build on another, “said CEO Mike McCarthy.” As a board member, I think we can only support [Housing Authority’s] Make an effort, cheer, and acknowledge that you are being aggressive and reflecting on this issue. “

The problems began when employees reported seeing two live bed bugs in the Columbia Arms administrative offices on June 30. The offices received the three standard pest treatments from Braman Pest Control and solved the insect problem in that part of the building.

But when housing authorities asked Braman to return on July 8 with a dog “specially trained to sniff out bed bugs,” beetles were discovered in four other apartments and a 10-foot section of one of the hallways.

Maintenance Director Bill Schrade emailed the board of directors that it was “his professional opinion that the Pittsfield Housing Authority has done everything in their power to control this issue at the Columbia Arms headquarters.”

He said the most recent bugs found came from homes that had not reported any problems or work orders to the PHA.

During the same session, the board heard an update on renovations at Rose Manor, the affordable 153-unit residential complex that serves elderly residents and residents with disabilities.

The board approved change orders totaling nearly $ 52,000 for the 17-building complex. A little over $ 33,000 has been earmarked for the renovation manual to be reprinted after an entire building is removed from the plan. The addition of handrails and an extra panel for one of the stairwells is valued at $ 16,000.

Schade said the PHA will share the cost of a $ 4,600 price increase for the construction with the contractor on the project, Bradley Architects. He said the price had risen while approval with the city’s building department was postponed for seven to eight weeks.

“We are still under budget,” said Schrade. “This is a rare occurrence. This is the first time, even in my years with the North Adams Housing Authority, that we have seen costs rise and fall so quickly.”