Fire Districts Have 'Enough Money,' Resident Says
Montville man tells township committee fire districts should operate through municipal government.
Discussion on a routine ordinance amendment for fire services prompted one Montville resident to speak his mind to the township committee Tuesday on how he feels the township should no longer have fire districts.
Instead, resident Dan Pagano said, Montville should follow suit with the majority of New Jersey municipalities and operate a single fire district under the municipality.
"Montville administers its fire prevention through the fire districts. They are outdated and they are inefficient," Pagano said.
Pagano compared Montville Township, which is nearly 20 square miles, to Wayne Township, nearly 27 square miles, in his comments to the committee.
"They have no fire districts. They have five fire companies and five fire houses," he said.
The fire districts are required to hold annual fire district elections to ask residents who live within their respective fire district to approve or not approve the district budgets. Montville is one of only three Morris County municipalities, including Hanover and Parsippany, which holds annual fire district elections. Montville has three fire districts: Towaco, Montville and Pine Brook.
In 2011, the Towaco fire district budget was defeated for the first time in history.
The public hearing for the ordinance Tuesday was in relation to a fee increase for fire inspections that, according to Committeewoman Deborah Nielson, was unanimously approved by all three fire districts.
"If Wayne, NJ can do what we do with less money, I certainly think fire districts have more than enough money and they don’t need a fee increase," Pagano said.
Ron King, a member of one of the districts, felt otherwise.
"Fire prevention is funded solely by fees. These fees haven’t been increased in 10 years, yet our costs have risen," he said.
What do you think? Should the fire districts operate as one under the municipality? Participate in our poll below and then tell us your thoughts in the comments.