According to one news source this month:
After 23 health violations were found at the [Linden] animal shelter and countless complaints lodged by the public, officials decided to shut down the facility by the end of the year and build a new one in 2015.
Another source reported:
Recommendations by [Linden's] ad hoc Animal Control Committee were presented at a caucus meeting Monday and were scheduled to be presented at Tuesday night’s council meeting. The recommendations include plans to build a new facility that would be financed mostly by donations and private funding, as available, rather than with taxpayer dollars.
What struck me was the ‘financed mostly by donations’ part. You see the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) during the years 2006 through 2010 spent over $215,000 under the heading “Union County Animal Shelter” according to the available UCIA Bills Lists (which did not go before 2009 on the UCIA website so it could have been more). This money went to DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Cole ($54,022) and Harbor Consultants ($161,720) apparently to study whether an Animal Shelter should be built. UCIA meeting minutes show no discussion on the topic (which is not unusual since UCIA meeting minutes show no discussion on any topic, only resolutions and votes) so we can only speculate that after all this study they abandoned the project.
Now fast forward to mid-December outside the Linden Shop-Rite and three pre-teens with donation cans and pictures of abandoned dogs and cats behind them asking shoppers for money to build a facility to shelter these poor animals and keep them from being destroyed. How much would people drop into those cans if they realized that the first $215,000 of whatever they put in would be going to connected political operatives? How much would you? And yet that’s exactly what you did and are continuing to do every time some politician convinces you (or more accurately goes ahead without your permission or knowledge) that there is something (a banquet center, a courthouse, solar panels) that you need built and they have a plan for how to get it built.