DATE:                    August 27, 2021

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                

Contact Business Administrator Timothy Carson 848-207-0640                                           

It has been brought to the attention of the members of the Toms River Board of Fire Commissioners District #2 that the residents of both communities received a letter on August 26, 2021 from Councilman Daniel Rodrick in reference to fire hydrant reimbursements.

The Fire District feels compelled to share with you the facts and history of the fire hydrant reimbursement agreement that was made with both Greenbriar and Lake Ridge Communities back in November of 2000.  One of the pieces of the agreement was that it was contingent upon the annual approval of the Fire District budget in accordance with New Jersey statute and appropriation.  The Budget has failed the last three years 2019, 2020 and 2021.  The first two years the Fire District did everything in their power to keep up the payment of the fire hydrants to the associations.  This year when the meeting was held with the township and the budget was reviewed, a recommendation was made by the Township Council to reduce the budget by $29,103 or 1%.  This discussion included to no longer reimburse the fire hydrant rentals which would cover the reduction.  The township council made the cut and voted 5 in favor and 2 abstained (Geoghegan and Kopp).  Councilman Rodrick voted in FAVOR of this motion.

In the letter from Councilman Rodrick, it states the Town Council approved a new budget with an increase in funds for the Fire District this year.  This is not an accurate statement.  The proposed budget for 2021 contained an increase year over year of $75,000 or $0.001 per $100 assessment to the residents.  Of that $75,000, $45,000 was due to an increase in election costs due to the increase in mail in ballots.   The district also came across an unanticipated loss of revenue of approximately $60,000 due to the Fire Sub Code Official being moved back under the township building department.  This left the district with a ($30,000) loss year over year.  With the cut to the fire hydrant reimbursement the Fire District is actually back to the same exact funding as the previous year.  This leaves the district to continue to work with the ever-increasing costs surrounding them including Fire Equipment which is seeing a 20% increase within the service.

The district was forced into a position of having to make this cut which no one took lightly.  The fact remains that if we kept up the current agreement, the district would also have to look to offer the same reimbursement to the other communities having private fire hydrants as well which would force the district to have to raise the budget approximately an additional $45,000.

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
Amount Raised by Taxation  $           2,910,320.79  $           2,834,415.00  $           2,766,782.00  $           3,070,008.00  $           3,228,000.00
Per 100 Assessment  $                         0.062  $                         0.061  $                         0.060  $                         0.066  $                         0.071