BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Following a presentation from the task force at a previous council meeting, the Bridgewater Township Council approved a resolution expressing support for the Somerset Regional Animal Shelter through calendar year 2016, in an amount not to exceed $155,000.
According to councilwoman Christine Henderson Rose, the township will now be working with Manville to create a multi-year contract to support the shelter in the future. So even though the resolution only goes through 2016, the expectation is that support will continue for the shelter far into the future, she said.
“I want to say thank you to all the volunteers who helped in the task force and have been passionately following the shelter,” she said.
The shelter, which opened in 1972, has been dedicated to providing animal control services for lost and abandoned animals, and giving food, shelter, medical supplies and attention to these animals every day. It was created as a regional agreement between Bridgewater, Manville and Somerville.
Even though the animal shelter has been running successfully for decades now, it has faced some obstacles in the last few years over its finances. In 2013, its budget was decreased by nearly $50,000, and, the following year, the shelter was audited, its director resigned and Somerville decided to withdraw from the contract, leading to a significant loss of revenue.
After Somerville pulled out of the agreement, Bridgewater Township began to reevaluate the shelter to determine its viability, and chose in mid-2014 to move forward with it as is. In January 2015, a task force was created to help unite the community and get new sources of revenue for the shelter.
The task force created plans and ideas to keep the shelter going indefinitely.
Many residents came out for Monday’s council meeting to thank the council for its support of the shelter.
“Thank you for supporting the shelter and believing in it,” Manville resident Cathy Healey said. “It is one of the best shelters in the state, and you should be proud to have it in your community.”