SOUTH AMBOY — City officials are taking action after residents complained about rats running amok through neighborhoods.

Business Administrator Glenn Skarzynski said city inspectors last week handed out more than 20 summonses for properties believed to be harboring rodents. Skarzynski also took a walking tour of two areas of town with the mayor, the council president and two Middlesex County health officials.

During the tour, the group came across a bank-owned house that "might be harboring some rodents," and he said the city sent in an exterminator clear out the property. The bill for the work will be forwarded to the bank.

Skarzynski said officials discovered that one area of the city had "a lot of folks there who are non-compliant with various code and zoning and health codes in terms of keeping their yards neat and free of piles of debris or keeping the garbage cans covered."

The actions follow a New Jersey 101.5 article highlighting resident complaints about the sudden rodent problem. The city is one of several in North Jersey that have experienced rodent invasions this year. Residents also complained at a City Council meeting.

With a better understanding of the scope of the problem, Skarzynski said they have a better handle on how to eliminate the rat problem.

"If I get a resident that calls me up and says 'look, I caught two rats in my yard this week,' that merits our exploration," he said. "If you're not keeping your property in the proper condition then you start to attract these creatures who would ordinarily be living elsewhere."

One of the people complaining about the rodents is former Councilwoman Beverly Samuelson, who said that her neighborhood was "full of rats."

Having been involved in city government for many years, Samuelson said she was "confident" that Skarzynski would "get the job done."

"He seems to be very aggressive," she said. "His name is on it and I don't think he would say something and ruin his reputation. I think he's a very proud person. If he says he's going to get it done, I believe he will."

Skarzynski said it is important to him that residents know the administration will respond quickly to resident complaints.

"When we are made aware of a problem and it's a problem where we can make an impact, we do everything we can to respond with that sense of immediacy and take those steps necessary to make sure that folks here in South Amboy can live the way they want to live, which is happy and unencumbered by other's activities that may not be in accordance with the law."