Moorestown residents asked to support fire department, cast their vote

On Saturday, Feb. 15, Moorestown residents will make their way to the polls to vote on the 2020 budgets for Fire Districts Nos. 1 and 2. In Fire District No.1, residents will see a tax decrease, while District No. 2 residents will see a slight increase under the two districts’ proposed budgets. 

“I would like to remind the residents of Moorestown that their fire department is [entirely] volunteer-run and averages 650 calls a year during all hours and weather conditions without hesitation,” Christopher M. Chesner, fire district administrator for District No. 1, said. “We ask that if you are able to please come out on Feb. 15 to support the fire department.”

Fire District No. 1

In Fire District No. 1, Moorestown residents will vote on an approximately $2 million budget. Chesner said their goals for this year’s budget were to lower both the tax rate as well as the total appropriations. 

The district’s 2020 budget proposes a decrease in the present tax rate of .063 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to .062. The overall amount to be raised by taxation will decrease by $9,591 with the average assessed home of $454,032 paying $281.49 in fire taxes in 2020.

The district’s total budgeted appropriations will see a decrease in 2020 by $201,064, which represents a 7.9 percent decrease from 2019. The total appropriations for 2020 will be $2,332,744. 

Chesner said this year’s budget allocates money for repairs to Station 312 located on Chester Avenue. These repairs include two bathroom upgrades and renovations to make the facilities ADA compliant; ceiling tile replacements, ventilation upgrades in the apparatus rooms; painting the second floor meeting room and new flooring and lighting upgrades. Station 311 on Main Street will also see upgrades with the apparatus floors being upgraded to non-slip flooring to prevent injuries.

This year’s ballot will feature an uncontested election. Fire commissioners R. Max Fisher and Grant Leuliette are both running for another three-year term. 

Chesner said looking beyond the elections, Fire District No. 1 will continue to have a presence during events on Main Street where they’ll be actively recruiting volunteer firefighters. The department is also continuing its partnership with RCBC, offering tuition reimbursements for those attending RCBC who are certified firefighters. In exchange, students will work 16 hours a week in either of their two stations.  

The elections for Fire District No. 1 will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Emergency Services Building located at 261 W. Main St.

For more information on Fire District No. 1, visit moorestownfire.org.

Fire District No. 2

Residents in Fire District No. 2 will be asked to approve a $786,790 tax levy that is part of an overall $1,434,906 budget. The proposed amount to be raised by taxation represents a $14,123 increase compared to last year. 

Under the proposed budget, taxpayers will see an increase in the tax rate of one-tenth of one cent to 9.8 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Residents in Fire District No. 2 with an average assessed home of $215,249 will see an increase of $2.15.

Stephen W. Knobbs, director of fire services for District No. 2, said the commissioners worked hard to balance containing budget costs while also providing necessary funding for expiring gear as well as building and equipment maintenance. 

The District No. 2 ballot will not feature any referendum questions. Howard C. Mann, Sr. is running unopposed for a three-year term on the Board of Fire Commissioners. 

In 2019, District No. 2 took strides to reduce the carcinogens to which their firefighters are exposed. These efforts included interior cleaning, painting and ceiling replacement as well as dedicated gear cleaning equipment. Reducing carcinogen exposure is an ongoing effort for the department, according to Knobbs. 

Knobbs said the district welcomes and encourages residents to come out and vote. 

“Hopefully, the residents are pleased with how the board has managed the budget, continually looking for ways to find cost savings while maintaining services provided to both residents and businesses,” Knobbs said. “We are dedicated to the protection of life and property of our residents and community.” 

The election for Fire District No. 2 will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Lenola Fire House located at 229 N Lenola Road. 

For more information on Fire District No. 2, visit www.moorestownfire2.com.