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Firehouse Land Buy Overwhelmingly Rejected by Voters

Toms River fire referendum fails

A for a new firehouse on Hooper and Hadley was overwhelmingly voted down in Toms River Fire District 1.

The measure failed, 273 voting “yes” and 663 voting “no,” said Fire District 1 Administrator Brian Kubiel.

Voters were faced with a second question, on whether the district should  appropriate $48,750 for District 1's share of an emergency generator for the Toms River Fire Academy. It too failed, 450 to 480.

“Both projects failed,” Kubiel said. “We respect the voters’ decision.”

The land buy would have paved the way toward building a new firehouse, to be shared by the two downtown firehouses of and .

Why did the vote fail by a large margin? Kubiel said he believes voters were swayed by “misinformation” and referenced a series of flyers opponents to the project spread, that claimed the referendum was part of a plan to have a paid fire department working out of a “mega” three-story firehouse that could cost upward of $8 million.

Kubiel said previously that there were no plans to shift away from a volunteer force, and that plans or cost of the building were not established.

“You can’t estimate a cost if you’ve yet to approve where to build it,” he said.

But in addition to the “misinformation,” a variety of residents shared criticisms of the project, with neighbors and Toms River residents wondering if the parcel was the best place, and if there could be adverse effects on the neighborhood. Others said they were disapproving of the process behind the referendum, and wished more answers could be given.

The vote came as part of a special referendum, with residents critical of the timing of it.

“Unfortunately, it was a matter of timing,” Kubiel said. The referendum was needed before year’s end after the landowner agreed to negotiate on the land purchase, he said. The fire district needed a “yes” vote to add the appropriation to its 2012 budget, which would be before voters in February.

With 936 votes cast, the turnout was significantly higher for a district 1 vote than the entire town voted in the February 2011 regular election.

Today’s vote was open to residents of district 1. In February, 395 voters came out.

“I wasn’t administrator at the time, so I can’t speak to that (turnout),” Kubiel said.

The district and its commissioners will go back and evaluate the referendum, he said.

“People exercised their right to vote,” Kubiel said. “At the end of the day, the fire department will continue to provide excellent service.”

Ken G December 17, 2011 at 04:42 PM
In my opinion this wasn't a Republican or Democrat victory/loss. It was a victory for Toms River and it's Taxpayers.
riverfest December 17, 2011 at 05:17 PM
ken g - agreed. this was the " voters " of toms river . the party operatives wether repub's or dem's should take notice. the " voter" of toms river will do what's best when they are presented with valid issues and needs - not sneaky underhanded issues for someone{s} personnal gain. anyone claiming political defeat - victory - in regards to this election are ignorant and shallow- time for a true people's party in ocean county and toms river esp. -receiving a robo call in support of this boondagle from tom - see no evil, hear no evil - spend at will -i never saw ritacco do anything wrong - keleher - was the last straw.
Mr. ? December 17, 2011 at 11:49 PM
HEY GREG....REPLIED IN CAPS... Greg 10:07 am on Saturday, December 17 Mr. ?, The seat that vacated by Donahue-Applebee was filled by Manforti. I SAID THAT! But, if you remember from the news paper Manforti is a Ward 4 member. BUT HE WAS APPOINTED COUNCIL AT LARGE - WARD DOES NOT MATTER. So, here is a possible situation that many have found to be a majoe possibility now that McGuckin was elected to go off to Trenton. McGuckin was the Ward 4 person so now with him leaving that leaves the opening for Manforti WHY WOULD THEY TAKE MANFORTI AS DONAHUE INTERIM OUT? WOULDN'T THE R CLUB APPOINT SOMEONE ELSE UNTIL MCG (WARD 4) TERM IS UP. DONAHUE'S SEAT COULD HAVE BEEN UP FOR ELECTION THIS FALL. SHOWS THAT COUNCIL SEATS ARE STAGGERED, BOTH WARD AND AT LARGE? to take over the remaining year of his term. Now, it is up to the Republican Club to vet a person from Ward 3 to take the seat that was vacated by Mo Hill. AGREED!. Now, I thought that with the next Ward election all 4 of the seat were up for grabs.IN 2013, BUT ARE THEY ALSO STAGGERED? Here is how I understood how the elecctions went. Mayor and 3 Council at Large seat went up at the sametime and then the 4 Ward seats went up a year later. THAT IS WHAT I THOUGHT, BUT THAT IS THE QUESTION! Mr. Mutter am I wrong? If I am please correct me. AGREE AGAIN!I AM SURE THE PATCH WILL CATCH UP WITH THIS MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!
Joseph E. Haelig December 18, 2011 at 12:27 AM
My bad, two seats are up in November 2012.
Mr. ? December 18, 2011 at 02:58 AM
Duh! My bad as well! Hey Greg, I think you may be mostly right. If all three council at large seats were elected this past November, then why wouldn't all the ward seats be elected at the same time? Mo Hill was elected to Donahue's spot, filled in by the appointment of Manforti, now making making Manforti a free agent to be moved to ward four ( in which you said he lives ) to fill McGuckin's vacancy when he was elected to the assembly. That would probably be the R club appointment ...makes sense, but they could pick someone else. Finally, we have the wards. If '09 was the last election of Maruca and... then I might go back to my original statement of "no TR council up and on the ballot in 2012" All four wards would be on the 2013 election. Joe Haelig, how do you figure 2 ward seats coming up in 2012...if all wards are elected at the same time, and appointments run the term? need ya bad Mark! Bye on this one, til Monday!

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