TOMS RIVER – The town’s two fire districts will hold an election to determine their budget for the year and who will sit on their boards of commissioners.
The first question on each ballot will be whether you approve of the budget that funds the fire companies. The rest of the questions on the ballot have to do with specific purchases that have to be put to the voters.
The polls will be open on Feb. 16, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
District No. 1
There are three people running for two, three-year terms as commissioners. They are incumbent George Convery, Rick Tutela, and Ian Monzo.
Voters are being asked to approve the budget of $8,250,239, a reduction from last year’s $8,957,603.
Of this year’s total, $5,550,011.35 would be raised in taxes. It is an increase from last year’s $5,422,530.23.
The increase comes from pension and benefits, said business administrator Brian Kubiel.
There are a few questions on the ballot besides the budget. One of them is to allow the district to appropriate $70,000 for the purchase of replacement Fire Prevention vehicles. Of this, $25,200 would come from District No. 2.
The next question is whether the district should appropriate $105,000 for “exterior training area surface replacement, replacement tile floor in classroom building and additional upgrades at the Toms River Township Fire Training Center.” Of this total, $37,800 would come from District No. 2.
In these last two questions, District No. 1 contributes more than No. 2 based on having a larger tax base.
District No. 2
In Fire District No. 2, there is one commissioner, Kevin Britton, who is running unopposed for a three-year term.
The budget would be going down, from last year’s $3,570,693.10 to this year’s $3,462,426.80.
The amount to be raised in by taxes would also decrease, from last year’s $3,070,008.10 to this year’s $2,766,781.80.
The tax rate would be approximately 6 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, according to business administrator Darlene Gargano.
There are other special questions people would be voting on.
The first question after the budget is whether the district should authorize $77,893 to upgrade the OptiCon system in 2020. These are the devices that change traffic lights so that crews can respond more quickly to emergencies.
Another question would appropriate $25,200 toward this district’s share of replacement fire prevention vehicles.
The last question is whether the district should appropriate $37,800 toward its share of $105,000 that is being used for upgrades at the Toms River Fire Training Center. Replacements include “exterior training area surface replacement, replacement tile floor in classroom building and additional upgrades.”