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North Caldwell Looking to Take Animal Control Officer In-House

Training a DPW worker to take over would reduce costs.

While many municipalities are looking to cut costs by consolidating services with other towns, North Caldwell is hoping to trim costs by training its employees to take on additional responsibilities.

At Tuesday night's council conference meeting, Department of Public Works Director and Borough Engineer Frank Zichelli reported on steps the borough is taking to appoint an animal control officer from among one of the town's DPW workers. 

Zichelli informed the council three members of the DPW are interested in the position which will require 45 hours of clasroom instruction, receiving a passing grade on an exam, and 20 hours of field training. Zichelli said he has spoken to neighboring municipalities who have offered to help with the field training.

If a current employee becomes certified, they will receive an increase in salary.  Currently, North Caldwell contracts with Bloomingdale at an annual cost of approximately $20,000. 

With this new plan, Zichelli said the town should save about $12,000 the first year. This savings should increase in subsequent years after the cost for training is eliminated.

North Caldwell Police Chief Mark Deuer informed the town he has a vehicle confiscated from a police drug raid that could be used for animal control.

The town still will have to contract with an animal shelter. However, Zichelli and Deuer said very little of the calls received require placing an animal in a shelter.  Wild animals are released to a more appropriate environment while pets with identification tags are returned to their owners.

In other business, the council discussed creating an ordinance on residential installation of . Borough Administrator Mel Levine and Zichelli informed the council the state is already proposing legislature on this issue.

Mayor Joseph Alessi asked them to find out what the state is doing and see if they can refine an ordinance based on the state policy.

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