Monmouth County officials say they are aware of the Tinton Falls seagull problem and are working to resolve the issue.
Members of the Tinton Falls and residents attended the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting at the Hall of Records building in Freehold Thursday night to voice their concern over the sudden and massive influx of seagulls in the southern section of the municipality.
“We have been the recipient of seagulls that have been disturbed at the landfill,” Councilman Gary Baldwin said. “Recently, the area of Fox Chase has been overrun with seagulls that were brought up in the air and dispersed by a program the landfill has in place.”
Baldwin said he is concerned about the potential health hazards that may arise from the large bird population that has taken root in Fox Chase.
Monmouth County Freeholder Director Robert Clifton said the county is actively investigating the problem.
"This is a top priority for the administration. We're going to get a solution. We're going to get it as fast as humanly possible," Clifton said.
Freeholder Thomas Arnone said county officials are trying to determine whether any changes in bird control at the Monmouth County Reclamation Center may have contributed to the gulls taking up residence in Tinton Falls.
“We've done bird control at the reclamation center for many years. It was never our intention to pass on a problem that we have onto residents of Tinton Falls. When we did think that maybe the change in our bird control could have contributed, we shut down that process. There still seems to be somewhat a problem,” Arnone said.
He noted Tinton Falls, county and state officials should explore what solutions may be available for control of the seagull population.
Councilwoman NancyAnne Fama pressed the freeholder board on what specific measures would be taken to address the influx.
“I’m asking the board right now: what is your action plan for solving the seagull issue in Tinton Falls,” Fama said.
Monmouth County Administrator Terri O’Connor said a bird control expert will be submitting a report to the county, exploring the problem and outlining potential solutions. The report is expected this week, O’Connor said.
Fama also noted residents have incurred damage from the birds and asked whether the county would compensate them for those damages.
Monmouth Council Counsel Andrea Bazer said while the county is working with the borough and employees at the landfill to resolve the issue, they are not admitting that any bird control measures, such as the introduction of a falcon to chase away gulls, is the cause of the recent problems at Fox Chase.
“We understand there’s an issue. At this point, the county is not accepting responsibility for damages or having caused any issued. There’s nothing we have so far showing we have caused this,” Bazer said. “We’re willing to work together to deal with the issue. We’ve been using bird control methods for quite a long time. Even the falcon has been flying since the summer and my understanding is this a recent occurrence at Fox Chase.”