Fire Taxes Totaling $1.76M Up for Vote in Montville

Annual election will be held Saturday.

Annual fire elections are Saturday, when Montville Township residents can vote on their respective fire district's proposed 2013 budget and elect members to the Board of Fire Commissioners.

Each of Montville Township's three fire districts—Montville, Towaco and Pine Brook—has its own five-member board that creates budgets and collects property taxes to maintain and support the town's volunteer fire departments.

The proposed tax levies this year total $1,764,505. If a budget is voted down, as Towaco's was in 2011 for the first time in history, it is sent to the township governing body for review. All of the budgets passed last year.

Montville is one of only three towns in Morris County, along with Hanover and Parsippany, that has fire districts.

Polls are open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the local firehouses:

  • Fire District No. 1 (Montville): Montville Fire Department, 108 Main Road, Montville
  • Fire District No. 2 (Towaco): Towaco Fire Department, 27 Whitehall Road, Towaco
  • Fire District No. 3 (Pine Brook): Pine Brook Fire Department, 47 Bloomfield Ave., Pine Brook

Fire district numbers are on property tax statements, and the boundaries are described on the township website.

District 2012 Levy
Proposed Levy Dollar Increase Increase Montville (1) $567,480 $570,600
Towaco (2) $646,620 $653,905
Pine Brook (3) $540,000 Same

The fire commissioner elections are uncontested this year. Fire commissioners serve three-year terms. The ballots have room for write-in candidates.

The Candidates

  • In Montville (Vote for one): James Berry
  • In Towaco (Vote for one): William E. MacStudy
  • In Pine Brook (Vote for two): Ronald R. Cain Jr. and Timothy J. Wright
Pete Sesnick February 16, 2013 at 02:03 PM
I have the upmost respect for the work that our Township police and firemen do. I don’t see how taxpayers asking for more detail about how their tax dollars are spent can be construed to be disrespectful toward the police or firemen (although, I will admit that sometimes questions could be asked in a less adversarial tone, just as reactions to questions could be less defensive). Some of the budget figures seem a bit high, but an explanation could easily justify the figure and satisfy the taxpayers’ curiosity. The detail must be available; else, how are these numbers derived?
Pine Brook February 16, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Max, using work as an excuse is pathetic.. you dont think these guys dont work their asses off everyday? some of these guys work 14 hour days and still make fire calls and drills. How about you shut up and stop ripping these men and women! I for one would like to thank these men and women and will support them fully for anything they need to keep their selfs safe to make it home to their family at the end of the day!
Pine Brook February 16, 2013 at 02:56 PM
PPE standers are set by NFPA and POSAH for the New Jersey firefighters and the township firefighters just fallow those standers. Plus in my eyes every penny spent to keep these men and women safe is worth it to me! You never wanna see someone hurt or even worst. So shut your mouth if you dont know what youtre talking about!
Pine Brook February 16, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Oh and if you are this unhappy with how our town and fire departments are ran how about you move!
Larry D'Oench February 16, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Your property taxes do not go to the fire districts... they are their own taxing authority subject to your approval of their proposed budget.
Pinebrook montville February 16, 2013 at 08:53 PM
this is a lot of money for a social club ...!!.. How many fires they actually put down in all of montville in the last 10 years... it is cheaper to train few police officer or EMT to be rescuers in case of fire get the people out and let the house burn down then collect insurance and build better and bigger or buy out the lot with the Money saved every year for open space
Pitzification February 16, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Hey Pinebrook Montville, guess what Towaco and Pine Brook FD just did no less than an hour ago. They save a home from burning down in Towaco. How's that for irony? The lack of appreciation for volunteers is truly disgusting. The blind ignorance on this board is repulsive. Why don't people try researching topics before they spout ridiculous ideas on how to fix things that are not broken. Why don't you contact the people who's house was just saved and ask them if volunteers are worth it.
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 16, 2013 at 10:19 PM
There is no point in arguing with a coward who is ashamed to sign his own name.
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 16, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Funny how these "volunteers" are ashamed to name themselves and try to weasel out of justifying the numbers. Perhaps the community should take a closer look at these numbers, or maybe police.
Mike February 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM
There is nothing to be ashamed with regarding the numbers that these three fire district boards put together. Theses numbers are responsible for both the taxpayer and the volunteer fire personnel. The fire districts in this township are the best bang for your buck. Considering the average taxpayer only pays $75 a year for fire protection by men and women who give up their free time and risk their lives for free for taxpayers in Montville township.
Pine Brook February 16, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Yeah pin brook montville, that's a great idea! I'm sure the insurance company's would love that idea! What ever you'll save in taxes you'll double that to pay in insurance
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 16, 2013 at 11:03 PM
Mike, if there is "nothing to be ashamed", please tell us how they spend $32,000 on uniforms, every year, in Montville FD alone. Hey, don't run away so fast!
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 16, 2013 at 11:11 PM
What would be a great idea is to disband all FDs and build a professional one, in Montville. Less money, actually, and better protection.
Pine Brook February 16, 2013 at 11:50 PM
How is that a great idea!? How much "cheaper" do you think that will be? These people won't work for nothing if they are putting their lives on the line. You'll have to have 8 guys on duty at all times so that will then have to in clued salary, pensions and benefits. That would double your taxes for the fire departments. You're being a real pain in the ass! How about you man up and join a real group of men!
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 12:12 AM
You must be a freaking billionaire if $1,760,000 is "nothing" to you. You can hire some fine men with that money, and they also won't wave their manhood every time their spending habits are.questioned. It will also free some prime real estate currently occupied by the other two FDs.
Pine Brook February 17, 2013 at 12:27 AM
If you aren't happy then you should just move, you aren't going to win, nothing is going to change....
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Funny, I heard that phrase already. Was it in a Al Capone movie?
Renee Sorenson February 17, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Here's my real name Renee Sorenson. I am a volunteer firefighter for district 2-towaco. I'm not hiding my name. And here's what I have to say about the budget. I voted yes. Why?? The money allocated is to keep us safe....and to use the most up to date equipment to handle everything from vehicle crashes to house fires. No one in the dept has NASA outfits , cell phones or any other hoity toity things you think we waste your tax money on. A social club? Are you serious? We are a brotherhood that you sitting in your 500$ leather chair spewing your ludicrous and inaccurate babble would never come close to understand. Walk a mile in my shoes. I personally invite you to my firehouse and i will give you a tour on what we spend your 75$ a year on. Did you question the school tax this way? The library tax? The open space tax? No. You can't justify their purpose so you attack us. Want to know what each and every dollar is spent on? The commissioners meetings is OPEN TO PUBLIC. Each month. Every month. And you can ask right then and there what each dollar is spent on. But instead you sit there and attack us.did you check what your taxes would be if the entire town goes paid? Show me that number. Did you bother to ask around before you decided to talk about disbanding the volunteer depts? I guess not. Wanna have a sit down with all the volunteer firefighters of the town and ask our opinions of the budgets? I'm sure we would love to show you what we do.
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Renee, I don't know what your business schedule is outside the volunteering, but mine doesn't allow me much time away from the computer. I cannot possibly sit at every board and ever commissioner meeting I'd like to, and every time I come and ask questions they are shrugged off. Yes, I objected to the school budget as well, because it was based on a lie, and I published my objections here, along with the math. I did not question library tax because I just haven't seen the library budget, but if I check it and find questionable charges I'll object, too. Right now, I checked Montville FD budget, and I saw items that cannot possibly be real. I see volunteers trying to bully me, but I don't see anyone trying to actually discuss the charges. I wonder why - am I disrupting someone's business-as-usual here?
Renee Sorenson February 17, 2013 at 03:46 AM
......I work 12 hour shifts and still are able to donate my free time. But that's not the issue. I offered to sit and meet....wanna see your tax dollars at work? Stop by on your free time. Wanna a copy of the commissioners meetings? Ask. I'm sure the secretary of your district would be happy to email u a copy if you ask nicely. If your not certain about a particular issue on the budget? Ask. Email a commissioner. Phone call. There is nothing to hide. To everyone who questions what your taxes go for....ask! We live in the tech age....I'm sure something as simple as a phone call to obtain the facts your looking for doesn't impose that much time in your busy work/family schedule. Personally the comments saying we are splurging tex payers money is hurtful to our membership and the way the townspeople see us. Im not going to stoop to bullying. We are adults and need to show this to our children. I believe in the way things are run in our districts are for the benefit of everyone. Please set aside the pettiness and help us...help all of you. I am willing to do what I can...how about you try on your end? Stop the hatfield/McCoy way of thinking and work with us.....
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Renee, if you have nothing to hide, please explain me the $32,000 budget item for the uniforms, each year. You know the fireman's line of work much better than I do, so you might have an idea.
Pitzification February 17, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Max, my name is Jason and I am also a volunteer firefighter in District Two. For someone who has so many questions and seems so passionate about getting these questions answered, you seem to do little to actually seek out the truth. Renee just kindly explained a few different ways you can get your answers. My question for you is why you have such disdain for the volunteers? I recall a year or so ago when one of the towns volunteers, who works in Montville, volunteers in Montville, but lives out of town, lost his home in a fire. The fire departments held a fund raiser for this gentleman and his family. You were the first to post on the article and here is what you wrote: "While my heart goes to the person who suffered such a staggering loss, one question lingers. Are the FD volunteers capable of providing proper protection from fire to township residents if they cannot protect their own homes?" Statements like this make me question your true motives behind railing on the fire departments. Is the taxes that's the problem, or is their an underlying issue? If the $75 a year for our services is too much for you, let me l know. I'll kindly mail you a check for $75, but in return, I'd kindly ask that you please stop disparaging good people who are trying to contribute to their community. For those who have voiced their support of the Fire Departments, a whole hearted thank you to all. We truly appreciate your support and will continue to give 100% 24hrs a day, 365 a year.
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Jason - you are yet another volunteer that cannot answer a simple question I asked. I won't care a whit for your bullying and your moralizing until you answer a very simple question: How can you spend $32,000 on uniforms every year? PS: If another volunteer pops up and starts moralizing instead of giving a straightforward answer, I'll think it's audit time. I will not allow this business-as-usual to go on.
Renee Sorenson February 17, 2013 at 04:05 PM
Max.....ask your district commissioners as I mentioned previously. We towaco firefighters cannot answer a budget question about your districts budget. Now you have the time for audit but not anything else i offered? or explained how you can obtain this information? Wow talk about double standard. And..thank you to all who came out and voted yesterday. Our budget passed. And congrats to all the new commissioners. And thank you to those who support ALL volunteers!
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 04:17 PM
Renee, this information is posted on Montville FD website, and if it weren't posted, I'd fill a FOIA request for it. By the way, Towaco FD budget isn't even posted - I wonder how people vote for it without seeing it. Any volunteers from Montville FD capable of answering my question directly?
Pitzification February 17, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Max, it was posted on the TVFD website, not too mention that its posted by Jake on this very article.
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Jason, unfortunately you're either mistaken or lying. The only number in the post is the TOTAL; I need a line item budget. Second, Towaco FD either does NOT have the budget, or doesn't have it linked.
Kathy February 17, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Max, let me help you, go to www.towacofd.org, home page, click on bottom link on left hand side, it says Board of Fire Commissioners, when page opens, click on drop down choice of Budgets, you will now see budgets for 2010 - 2013. Click on the Budget you would like to review. And do not say it doesnt work, because everyone else has been able to locate i and open it. You appear to be the only one. I want to thank the volunteer firefighters from Montville, Towaco and Pine Brook, they are dedicated individuals that respond to calls 24/7. I dont know whay you have such a negative attitude towards these men and woman, I for one and thankful for them. I know you will come back with a negative comment, you always do, it may be because of your ignorance, I do not know. But enough is enough. Maybe the Patch pays you to make negative comments on the majority of their articles to get readership up. And as the majority of posts have said each Fire District has open public meetings and they are also listed on their individual web sites. Please go to the meeting in your Fire District, ask your questions and they will answer any question you may have, this inviation is to all residents of Montville Township.
Maxim Sapozhnikov February 17, 2013 at 08:05 PM
Kathy, thank you very much. You are the first person who was actually helpful. I am glad to see that Towaco FD is also online. Now, Renee, could you please satisfy my curiosity... What kind of supplies cost your department $105,000?
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