Moorestown Fire District Elections sees approval of fire commissioners, budgets and a question

The Moorestown Fire Districts №1 and №2 unofficial results are in. Both saw the election of two fire commissioners and the 2016 annual budget approval, as well as the approval of a question for District №2 on replacing a roof.

The budget for Fire District №1 was approved 87–32. The budget totals $2.08 million to be raised by taxation, a $27,557 decrease from last year.

The total budget appropriation this year is $2.16 million, a $108,357 decrease from last year, primarily due to general operating expenses decreasing and the completion of debt service on an $860,000 general obligation bond that was approved by voters on Dec. 28, 2002, to make improvements to the primary fire station where administrative operations are housed. The final payment was made in 2015.

“I feel very good about the budget being passed,” Christopher M. Chesner, administrator for District №1, said.

According to Chesner, the department has stayed below the 2 percent cap and has never exceeded it.

“We have to stay within the 2 percent cap from the prior year. We have never exceeded the 2 percent cap since that was enacted on us. We have money in cap bank if ever needed, but at this point, we don’t need to use it,” Chesner said.

Incumbent Fire Commissioners Peter R. Bowman and Bradley J. Kenney were re-elected with 108 and 111 votes, respectively. Both were running unopposed.

Bowman, a former fire commissioner, filled the unexpired seat of Howard Schuster who passed away in 2015. Kenney has been a fire commissioner since 2013.

There were no cuts to the department, according to Chesner. In 2017, Chesner said a question to voters would be on the ballot asking to replace an engine the following year. However, the department has enough money in its capital reserve to pay cash for it, so it wouldn’t have to go out for a bond and affect taxpayers.

The Fire District №2 budget was approved 107–20. The budget’s total revenues were $1.37 million, which includes the amount to be raised by taxation of $729,833, an increase of $14,310 as compared to the prior year, within the allotted 2 percent levy cap. The proposed tax rate increased one-tenth of a cent to $.085 per $100 of assessed valuation.

“Speaking on behalf of the board and the Lenola Volunteer Fire Company, we are very grateful to the residents for their support of the budget and their approval to replace the roof. Their support is not something we take for granted; it is something the district strives to earn every year by effectively managing the budget while providing fire protection and fire prevention services to both residents and businesses,” Elizabeth Booth, board administrator for District №2, said.

The 2016 budget reflects the capital lease purchase agreement for a new fire apparatus, approved in last year’s fire election. The new fire apparatus is replacing a 1991 Pierce Squirt. The delivery of that vehicle is expected during the summer.

Fire District №2 also asked a question for the authorization to replace the existing lower roof of the Lenola Volunteer Fire Station for a cost not to exceed $115,000. The question was approved 115–17. Funding was provided from unrestricted reserve fund balance.

For Moorestown Fire District №2, incumbents Jaqueline Grant and William Ruggiano were re-elected for the two open seats, winning over challenger Brandon Thompson. Grant received 128 votes and Ruggiano received 101, while Thompson received 32 votes.

Grant has been a commissioner for the district for 21 years. This will be Ruggiano’s second term as a commissioner, as he was elected in 2013.

The results are unofficial as of now. The county will send the department a certification of the official results through the mail.