Liberty Humane Society, Jersey City’s non-profit animal shelter, and New Jersey Animal Control and Rescue – a contractor in Bayonne – both said they will submit proposals for a two-year animal control services contract in Bayonne that cannot exceed $90,000 annually.
“I have a two-year contract. I’ve never been served with anything that says my contract is going to be terminated,” NJACR owner Geoff Santini said over the phone this morning.
“We’re just going to move forward, we’re going to play it out. As the city has said previously, there are no complaints against my company.”
On Monday afternoon, the City of Bayonne formally advertised that they are seeking a request for qualifications and proposals for animal control services.
The move does not come as a surprise, given that the city council approved putting animal control services back out to bid at last month’s meeting by a vote of 4-1.
1st Ward Councilman Tom Cotter voted no, telling Hudson County View after the meeting that he had not received any resident complaints regarding NJACR’s job performance, noting that LHS declined to pick up wildlife when they were the city’s animal control vendor of choice.
The city’s proposal is more specific than last time, asking for each vendor to provide the contract[s] they currently hold with a state licensed animal shelter[s], a breakdown of the shelter’s holding capacity and to list any other municipal contracts they currently have.
All proposals are due on September 7 at 10 a.m. and qualified vendors do not necessarily have to be from Hudson County.
NJACR received an $87,500 contract after receiving council approval at their November 10 meeting, prompting a protest and some resident backlash against the administration at the subsequent meeting in December.
Santini echoed Cotter’s sentiment when discussing the services his company provides to Bayonne, adding that he feels the only reason an RFP is being solicited by the city is due to “political pressure.”
“I work around the clock taking care of animals. And lo and behold, we just had a rabid racoon the other day. LHS wasn’t doing their job … the services that Bayonne wanted included trapping animals,” he said.
“There are seven to 10 people complaining [about our job performance], while there are 100’s that are happy. This is from political pressure caused by Peter Franco. LHS is a good organization, we just do different things.”
Franco, a lifelong Bayonne resident who is often critical of Mayor Jimmy Davis and his allies, scoffed at the notion that he influenced the council’s decision and said he is well aware of resident complaints against Santini’s company.
“I don’t think this situation has anything to do with political pressure: I think the council acknowledged problems that exist,” Franco responded, adding that while the city’s Health Department may not have any animal-related complaints on file, other entities – such as the police department – do.
Meanwhile, LHS Executive Director Irene Borngraeber commended the city for deciding to review proposals for animal control services.
“The fact that Bayonne has issued a new, and more detailed, RFP for animal services means that the city is listening to constituent feedback, that is very positive,” later confirming that LHS will also be entering a bid.
According to Santini, his current contract is not set to expire until November 30, 2017.