BRICK – If the past is an indicator, the Feb. 17 fire district election will probably have a low voter turnout, despite the fact that there is a lot of tax money at stake: In Brick the budget for the three fire districts totals some $5.7 million.
According to township fire district attorney Jay Sendzik, the district budgets must be introduced and presented to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for their comments, and presented at local public hearings before it goes back to the DCA for final adoption, and then put on the ballot and voted on by the public.
Each of Brick’s three fire districts – which are special geographical areas that have the power to levy local property taxes to support firefighting services – has five fire commissioners, so the public votes on the budget and for commissioners whose 3-year terms have expired, Sendzik explained.
Fire Commissioners are responsible for the fire protection of all people, buildings and property in its district, and are responsible for evaluating and meeting their respective fire district’s needs.
Sendzik broke down the spending in each of the three districts by capital appropriations – which covers such items as firefighter gear and radio replacement, SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) equipment, fire trucks and more; and capital appropriations/debt service – which covers such items as training, fuel for the trucks, insurance, workmen’s compensation, and rental of fire hydrants from BTMUA (Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority), which is the largest expense.
Fire District #1 includes the southernmost section of Brick from the Toms River border, north and west to the Lakewood border and about a mile of oceanfront on the barrier island.
The budget for Fire District #1 is $2,581,200, with $1,923,000 earmarked for operating appropriations, and $658,000 for capital appropriations (Fire District #1 has no debt service).
This district pays $370,000 to the BTMUA for fire hydrant rental.
The amount of money to be raised through taxation for Fire District #1 is $2,380,000, with a tax rate of .058 per $100 of assessed property value. The tax rate would remain the same as last year, Sendzik said.
One fire commissioner term is open in Fire District #1, and one candidate’s name is on the ballot – incumbent James Riccio (who is Brick’s police chief).
Fire District #2 includes the central portion of the township, north and east of Metedeconk River and Forge Pond, southwest of the Point Pleasant border and up to Fire District # 3 in the north.
The budget for Fire District #2 is $1,828,794, with $1,267,530 earmarked for operating appropriations and $561,264 for capital appropriations and debt service. This district pays $200,000 annually to the BTMUA for fire hydrant rental.
The amount of money to be raised through taxation for Fire District #2 is $1,784,000 with a tax rate of .044 per $100 of assessed property value. The tax rate is flat, Sendzik said.
One fire commissioner term is open in Fire District #2, and one candidate’s name is on the ballot: incumbent Ronald M. Braen Jr.
Fire District #3 covers the northernmost section of Brick Township, bordered by Fire District #2 to the south, Howell and Wall Townships to the north and Wall and Brielle to the east.
The budget for Fire District #3 is $1,261,288, with $1,053,193 earmarked for operating appropriations and $208,095 for capital appropriations and debt service. This district pays $145,000 to the BTMUA for fire hydrant rental.
The amount of money to be raised through taxation for Fire District #3 is $1,260,288, with a tax rate of .065 per $100 of assessed property value. The tax rate would remain unchanged, Senzick said.
Two of the fire commissioner’s terms are open in Fire District #3, and two incumbents – James J. Leport Jr. and Christopher J. Matseur – are on the ballot.
The fire district election is on Saturday, Feb. 17 and polls will be open from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m.
The polling place for Fire District #1 is Pioneer Hose Fire Company on Drum Point Road. The polling place for Fire District #2 is the Laurelton Fire Company on Route 88 and Olden Street, and for Fire Company #3, the polling place is the Herbertsville Fire Company on Herbertsville Road.
Brick has four fire companies, which include the above and the Breton Woods Fire Company, which is not a polling place.