Fire election set for Saturday

Incumbents Mitchell Ege and Robert Brown are being challenged by Kenneth Williamson for the two available seats on the Lambertville Board of Fire Commissioners.

By: Sue Kramer
   LAMBERTVILLE — Voters will go to the polls Saturday to decide on the Fire Department’s budget and elect two candidates to fill openings on the Board of Fire Commissioners.
   The 2004 budget is proposed at $455,597 with $362,600 to be raised by taxes. If approved, the budget would reduce the current tax rate by 2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
   Board Chairman Robert Brown said he is pleased with the effort firefighters and fire Chief Robert Hayes put into keeping the line on spending. They have "worked very hard on the budget, to keep it in line so there wouldn’t be any increase to the taxpayers," he said.
   The amount to be raised by taxes is $17,570 less than last year, which will be reflected in a lower fire tax.
   Although assessments are up this year, with the average home valued at $260,127, the rate per $100 of valuation is expected to drop to 7.2 cents. The owner of a home assessed at the city average would pay $187.29. The rate will be set in May.
   Last year’s rate of 9.2 cents per $100 of assessed valuation meant a homeowner paid $194.59 in fire tax on a house assessed at an average of $211,515.
   Also on the agenda Saturday will be the election of two people to fill the three-year terms currently held by Mr. Brown and board Vice Chairman Mitchell Ege.
   Fire Police President Kenneth Williamson, 47, is challenging them.
   Mr. Brown, 61, will be seeking his fourth term on the board. He served as vice chairman for three years and has been the chairman for the past three years.
   Mr. Ege, 42, is seeking his second term. In addition to his position as vice chairman, Mr. Ege is the board’s purchasing agent.
   Voting will be held between 2 and 9 p.m. at the Columbia firehouse on North Union Street.