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The Rat Rate

$571,859. That's how much Baltimore City spent in 2004 to combat the scary creatures that roam our streets at night. Not drug dealers or burglars or prostitutes¬órats. Between 2002 through 2004, the city spent nearly $1.8 million fighting these vermin; $46,203 of that amount was spent on rat bait alone.

City Paper recently received this data as part of a public information request addressed to the mayor's office. According to the documents we received from Raquel Guillory, the mayor's press secretary, large portions of the annual expenditures were described as "grant funding." Specifically, of the $571,859 spent in 2004, $107,131 was obtained through state grant funding administered by the Baltimore City Health Department, and $120,000 was allocated from federal Community Development Block Grant funding administered by the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development. The remainder, $344,728, came from the city's general fund.

Like St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland (hey, it is March 15), the city is using this money to drive the rats out of Baltimore through its not-very-glamorous Rat Rub-Out program, which was conceived as a quality-of-life initiative in 2004 to rid Charm City of our ugly, dirty, residential vectors. Based on 2002-'04 figures, the city spends on average $589,590 annually rubbing out rats. Using Baltimore's CitiStat site, Newshole determined that there were 10,766 311 calls regarding rats in 2005. Doing some fuzzy math (or "furry" math, if you will), we figured that the city spent, on average, $54.76 per rat-related phone call.

We wonder how much it would cost to chase the rats out of City Hall? St. Patrick, pray for us

The Morgue: Chronicles of Old Baltimore

The Mayor's Health, 80 Years Ago This Week

Mayor Back at Desk After Illness: executive returns to work at City Hall. 'Feel fine,' says City head on return from hospital; congratulated by municipal department heads. Mayor Jackson returned to work at the city hall today after a two-week rest at the Sheppard-Pratt Hospital, Towson. Jackson said he is in better condition than at any time since he was elected and will be able to resume fully the burdens of his office. . . . While at Sheppard-Pratt Jackson said he rose early each morning, took plenty of outdoor exercise and had long sleeps each night.

Source: Baltimore Daily Post, March 22, 1926

Out-of-Context, Gratuitious, Unexplained Image of the Week

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