JACKSON – The Township Council approved a new incentive for members of fire companies and EMS squads that would serve to thank first responders and broaden their ranks.
The ordinance grants a waiver to members of Jackson fire departments and EMS squads, per certain conditions, for certain township permits and fees.
“This was inspired about a year ago by firefighter Ralph Aponte who is in the audience tonight,” said Councilman Alex Sauicki, who had introduced the measure. Along with input from other fire chiefs in the community, this served as an example of the governing body listening to its residents.
Reading the ordinance, Sauickie said, “these are people that give of their time, who keep us safe and this is a very small way of thanking them for doing that with things like waiving building permit fees for volunteering and helping us all keep safe.”
Aponte said following the passage of the ordinance, “thank you for appreciating what the first responders do in this town. As you know membership is down all over the country and I hope this will be some incentive to help us build our ranks for the first aid and fire companies in town.”
Mayor Michael Reina was absent for the evening’s session, but Business Administrator Terence Wall read comments in his place.
Those comments included his support of volunteer ordinance. “It encompasses how much we admire and respect all our Jackson Township first responders and their families. When one looks at their determination and desire to help others and the time they invest day after day, ‘thank you’ does not completely cover our gratitude.
“Call after call, weather is never an issue. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and interrupted family time during religious and traditional holidays – these fine men and women answer call after call. They are always there,” the mayor’s letter added.
In related news, Council Vice President Andrew Kern brought up an interesting comparison of costs.
Within the township’s normal payment of bills were 24 checks that needed to be cut, he said. They went toward organizations that did roadside clean-ups on June 11.
“We’re doing two a year now. The second will be this fall. Non-profit organizations can come out such as Boy Scouts, the American Legion, different sports teams from the high schools and middle schools,” he said.
Kern noted that the respective groups take a particular section of roadway within Jackson “and clean that all up and make it look better and make the whole town look better.
“I was very happy with it and I realized that of the 24 organizations cost us only $1,200. In that same bill list that came in, there is a $1,500 expense that we need to buy more Narcan. Organizations such as the Boy Scouts, American Legion, sports teams they all help to reduce the potential of overdoses (which Narcan is used to treat) from drug use by our children,” Kern added.
“One doesn’t exactly offset one from the other but I am asking the township administrator (Terence Wall) to see if we could advertise this on a much larger scale next time and really boost up the dollars in which the organizations can earn and if there are additional members, they can have two teams so we can make this as successful a program as we can.”
“We can certainly do that,” Wall responded.
Councilmen Nino Borrelli, Steven Chisholm and Alex Sauickie also noted the success and good weather of last month’s Food Truck and Fireworks event held at Johnson Park.
This was the second year for the event and it drew a large crowd with around 15 food trucks, several township booths, two musical bands, plus basketball and cornhole tournaments.
The councilmen thanked Joey Lynn Anderson who heads the Township’s Recreation Department, Business Administrator Terence Wall, the Department of Public Works and all those involved with the event. Chisholm also encouraged residents to come out to Jackson Day this autumn.
Acting Township Clerk
This marked the second meeting for Deputy Clerk Mary Moss as acting clerk as Township Clerk Diane Festino resigned last month. Festino was sworn in to office in December 2021, following the retirement of Clerk Janice Kisty and Moss was sworn in during that same meeting as the new deputy clerk replacing Festino in that role.