Lakewood's Board of Fire Commissioners, which is an elected Board which oversees the budget of the Lakewood Fire Department, is planning to increase their annual taxes nearly $2 million for spending on several capital projects.

This includes the following projects:

• $415,000 - Site & Building Improvements and Repairs (Firehouse Aprons, Driveways, Roof replacement, Generator and HVAC replacement and any other projects that help maintain or improve infrastructure)

• $850,000 - Fire Engine with Equipment and Upfits

• $350,000 - Rehab and Care Unit with Equipment and Upfits

• $200,000 - Future Capital Outlay (Fire Apparatus)

• $85,000 - Firefighting Hose

Total amount: $1,900,000

At their upcoming regular monthly meeting on December 6th, the Board of Fire Commissioners are expected to formally authorize these capital projects and raise the necessary funds for the projects in its upcoming fiscal year 2023 budget which will be introduced and publicized at a future meeting.

The meeting will take place in the meeting room at 733 Cedar Bridge Avenue, Lakewood, at 7:30pm. The meeting is open to the public and members of the public will be afforded an opportunity to speak up on the tax increase prior to the Board voting on it.

Members of the public may also submit written comments through noon on December 6, 2022. All written comments shall be forwarded to: Board of Fire Commissioners, Fire District No. 1, Township of Lakewood, 733 Cedar Bridge Avenue, Lakewood, New Jersey 08701, Attn: Yehuda Beer, Fire District Administrator.

The Board of Fire Commissioners used to hold its annual elections for fire Commissioner and approval of the annual budget on a Saturday in February, and for approval of capital spending in a separate election in December. These elections were always very sparsely attended.

Thanks to a new law, the Board of Fire Commissioners was able to move the annual Commissioners election to the general election (when many more residents are going to vote anyways), and to eliminate placing the budget approval for voter referendum as long as the budget does not exceed the 2% Property Tax Levy Cap.

The District still requires voter approval for finance spending. Last year's budget included financing of $1.6 Million for a new Tower Ladder fire truck and that financing did require voter approval.

At this time it appears that these new capital projects will not be financed and will therefore not require voter approval, they will automatically be included in the annual budget which no longer requires voter approval.

As previously reported here on FAA News, the Board of Fire Commissioners previously began the process of hiring a Fire Prevention Specialist. Their current annual budget appropriates a total of $93,584 for this position.

Following exposure on FAA News about this proposed expenditure, it appears that the Board of Fire Commissioners have shelved this plan as they have not appointed anyone to the position despite receiving - back in June - resumes from 7 candidates for this position, which started off a number of years ago as a volunteer position and has since then burgeoned into a $500 monthly stipend position.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Makes no sense how they keep raising our tax dollars spending it on new trucks while the tax rolls have gone up with thousands of new residents where is the money going why is there no oversight