Milltown officials think animal control service fee from Woodbridge is too high

BY KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

MILLTOWN — Borough officials plan to renegotiate the annual fee for animal control and shelter services with Woodbridge Township.

The Milltown Council approved a shared services agreement between Woodbridge and Milltown for animal control services for the control, care and housing of lost and abandoned domesticated animals at a meeting Feb. 8.

The cost will be $10,600 annually, to be paid quarterly, which is an increase from $10,500 last year. The rate will be effective beginning March 1.

Councilwoman Doriann Kerber said the borough has seen a dramatic drop in animal control calls and services this past year.

“There have been one to five calls made,” she said, noting that in 2014, the borough fielded hundreds of calls.

Kerber said she learned through a local newspaper that the Woodbridge Animal Shelter is now providing shelter services for East Brunswick, South River and Spotswood for $175 per animal housed at the shelter. The services do not include animal control services.

Denise Biancamano, chief financial officer for the township, said the borough is limited in its selection of animal control and housing services.

“Unfortunately, not many towns do this anymore,” she said, noting that at one point officials had attempted to contract with Sayrebrook Pet Adoption Center in Sayreville and Franklin Township Animal Shelter. “They did not want to take us.”

Biancamano said the borough does have a feral cat problem off of Washington Avenue and Woodbridge Animal Control does get the cats for a trap-neuter-return program.

Councilman Jerry Guthlein said he realizes the borough is kind of stuck; however, he said for the amount of calls the borough gets, the fee is “pretty expensive.”

The borough had previously contracted with the now-closed Helmetta Regional Animal Shelter.

Biancamano and Kerber said they would reach out to Woodbridge Township again.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@gmnews.com.