As reported by NJ.com, the Hamilton Township firefighters’ unions will start knocking on residents’ doors asking them to sign petitions calling for the consolidation of the Township’s nine fire districts into one force that would provide protection to the entire town. The resolutions call for the dissolution of the district the taxpayers live in. It’s part of a process to absorb or dissolve a district, which takes a petition to the Township Council from 5 percent of a district’s voters.
In announcing the plan, the unions gained the support of local politicians, including Assemblymen Wayne D’Angelo and Dan Benson, who live in Hamilton and signed petitions at a public event at the Rusling Fire Company, home of District 3. The unions’ plan, though, is to have fire District 3 be the surviving district, instead of starting with a brand new district, a move opposed by at least three other districts. At the event, the presidents of the two locals of the Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association (“FMBA”), Nick Buroczi, who represents officers and Mike Kiernan, who represents rank-and-file firefighters, both reiterated their stances that the Township needs one fire district. “We believe the residents of Hamilton understand the need for us to move forward,” Buroczi said. For too long, he said, the issue of consolidation has been stymied by governmental paralysis. “What we are proposing is uniformity of service throughout Hamilton Township,” Kiernan said. “Protection from fire should not be dictated by arbitrary lines on a map.”
The issue of consolidation has gained popularity in the past few months, with three fire districts, 5,6, and 9, publicly voting for a consolidated firefighting force that would be governed by one board of five commissioners, instead of 9 boards with 45 commissioners.
Also pledging support for the union’s plans were Mercer County Freeholder John Cimino and State Senator Linda Greenstein, who said consolidation makes fiscal and safety sense, saying “I hope the residents will support consolidation.” Also on hand for the announcement was Ed Donnelly, president of the State FMBA, who said one firefighting unit a good thing for Hamilton. “It’s time we get it done.”
Please continue to check this blog periodically to ascertain updates regarding this matter and the potential consolidation going forward.