Debbie Nagel, the animal control supervisor for Long Branch who serves as backup for Red Bank, with an orphaned raccoon pup rescued from a tree on Brown Place last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
Squirrels in the attic? Bats in the bathroom?
Red Bank residents would have to pay $90 an hour to have wild animals removed from their homes under a plan that returns for discussion Wednesday night.
A proposal to eliminate the position of borough animal control officer and another to replace it with the Monmouth County SPCA for service through the end of the year are back on the agenda for the council’s monthly workshop session. Both were tabled prior to official action at the May 26 meeting.
Under the proposed contract with the SPCA, a call to, say, remove a baby skunk from a dryer vent (yes, it happens) would cost a resident $90 per hour, or $118 per hour nights and weekends. The borough doesn’t charge for the service.
There would be no charge in cases where a wild animal in a house is “deemed a public safety threat” by police, the contract states.
Here’s the proposed agreement: Red Bank SPCA contract 2021
The changes would eliminate the job held for the past 18 years by Henry Perez, and is driven by cost considerations, officials have said.
In particular, Mayor Pasquale Menna said the borough ends up subsidizing the cost of service for Fair Haven and Shrewsbury Township, where it responds to calls under interlocal agreements that are meant to reduce costs for all.
Under the six-month contract, the borough would pay $4,800 per month, or a total $28,800 through the end of this year. According the the Asbury Park Press Data Universe of public employment salaries, Red Bank paid Perez just under $62,000 last year.
Opponents of the change have said Perez has intimate knowledge of the town’s domestic and wild-animal populations, and responds to emergencies more swiftly than the SPCA could, given that it covers some 15 towns in the county.
If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a paying member. Click here for details about our new, free newsletter and membership information.