The of Toms River Township, District #1, have passed a resolution to hold a special election requesting voter approval for the purchase of land and to purchase an emergency generator for the Toms River Fire Academy. Thus, on December 15, 2011, an election will take place in which the public will be asked to vote on the following questions:
Question 1- Shall the Board of Fire Commissioners District # 1 in Toms River Township be authorized to appropriate $ 1,022,000.00 in budget year 2012 for the purchase of real property and costs associated with the acquisition of said property?
Question 2 - Shall the Board of Fire Commissioners of Fire District No. 1 in Toms River Township be authorized to appropriate $ 48,750.00 in the budget year 2012 representing Fire District #1's share of the total cost of $75,000.00 for the purchase of an emergency generator for the Toms River Fire Academy?
The Board of Fire Commissioners wishes the public to know the rationale behind the decision to ask the voters for approval of these expenditures.
In regard to question #1, a Fire District may only purchase property with the approval of the voters. Presently, the Board of Commissioners does not own any of the fire stations located within the fire district. The District leases space within the fire stations to store its fire trucks from the individual Volunteer Fire Companies.
Two of these companies, and are located around the corner from each other. Both of these firehouses were built years ago and can not accommodate newer fire apparatus.
Thus, in order to consolidate two nearly adjacent stations into one which will have the capacity to accommodate modern equipment the Board of Commissioners has been looking at options over the last few years. Since several opportunities exist at the present time, the Board of Fire Commissioners decided to seek voter approval at this time.
Additionally, the Fire Commissioners Administration Offices are located on the second floor of Toms River Fire Company # 2. The District also leases this space. With the purchase of property, it is the District's intent to immediately move the administration offices to the building that is currently located on the property.
Thus, the following benefits formed the basis for the decision of the Board of Commissioners to hold this special election:
• The consolidation of services to one location.
• The elimination of rent payments.
• The ability to accommodate modern fire apparatus.
• The relocation of the apparatus presently stored at Toms River Fire Company # 2 out of the floodplain.
Providing efficient and cost-effective fire protection to Toms River well into the future underlies all of the above reasons.
The Board of Commissioners at this time only seeks the approval for the purchase of property.
The building on the property will be immediately used by the District. If the land is acquired, the Board of Commissioners will begin the process of the design of a new fire house. The Board of Commissioners has not retained an architect at this time to design the building. Until the approval by the voters, the payment for extensive engineering and architectural services would have been fiscally irresponsible.
Additionally, until the purchase of a particular property, the engineering site plan and architectural design of a building would have been impossible.
Additionally, due to questions asked at its December 7, 2011, meeting, the Board of Fire Commissioners want to assure the public that the concept of a paid fire department did not enter into the decision to move forward with the purchase of property at this time.
In regard to Question #2, currently our dispatch center for fire and emergency medical services is located in the Toms River Township Police Station. The purchase of this generator will provide emergency power to the fire academy in the event of a power failure of any sort. Furthermore, it will allow for a back up communication center in the event that our communication center within police
headquarters fails for any reason. Maximum safety for our residents is always a paramount concern.
In closing, the Board of Commissioners would like to take this opportunity to ask for your support in this election. The public's support is very important to the future of the volunteer fire service. The Board of Commissioners always strives to provide the best resources for the volunteer fire service in order to fully protect our community. If you have any questions, our office staff would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have and may be reached at 732-341-4441.
The Board of Fire Commissioner District #1