BASS Threatens to Leave Without Contract By End of Month
Animal shelter president said they've been waiting too long for contract from borough.
Bloomingdale Regional Animal Shelter Society (BASS) President Ellen Ribitzki said BASS was let down once again at Tuesday's Bloomingdale Council meeting as the council still did not award a bid for animal shelter services. But Borough Attorney Mark Semeraro said it was because he is still concerned about some of the language in the sole proposal submitted to the borough by BASS.
"For the most part, it is a conforming proposal," Semeraro said, adding that there are a few areas he wanted to speak with councilmembers about in closed session.
After the meeting, Semeraro said since the council decided to enter into competitive contracting for the second round of bidding in September, the council is able to negotiate terms of the contract with the bidder. In the first round of bidding this summer, two bidders submitted proposals, but Semeraro said Tuesday that only one bidder submitted this round.
At Tuesday's meeting, the council also approved a payment of $2,500 to help BASS operate through the month of December, as the borough has been doing for the past several months, but Ribitzki said even the monthly payments are not enough to keep BASS from leaving Bloomingdale if they do not have a contract signed by Dec. 31.
"We asked for some help a year before our contract expired. We think we're close, but we have been promised contracts on and off for six years," said Ribitzki. "If it does not get resolved by Dec. 31, we're out of there."
Borough Administrator Ted Ehrenburg had previously confirmed that BASS has been operating without a contract for the past several years. In addition to sheltering animals from Bloomingdale, due to the borogh's shared service agreements, the shelter houses dogs and cats from several surrounding towns as well.
Without a contract and with the increased number of animals at the shelter, Ribitzki said BASS has not been paid an adequate amount to continue paying staff members and keeping up the programs and services BASS offers, such as the spay and neutering program.
"We have to pick and choose which bills to pay," Ribitzki said.
Currently, BASS is housing about 140 cats and 20 dogs, Ribitzki said. Cats are being housed at the former DPW building since the tropical storm from Hurricane Irene left the cat building damaged. Ribitzki said if BASS does move out of Bloomingdale, shelter volunteers would be bringing the animals to their homes until they make arrangements for a new facility.
"We've been looking at a lot of options," said Ribitzki. "We have options to kind of spread out our animals.
Ribitzki said Friday BASS has not heard anything further about their proposal.
Ribitzki said it costs about $200,000 per year to run the animal shelter. She is also seeking about $30,000 in back pay from the borough for what Ribitzki described as costs to keep the sheler operational over the past year.