Allentown to review U.F. request with boro attorney

Township wants borough to pay invoice for fire services for past five years

BY JANE MEGGITT Correspondent

UPPER FREEHOLD — Township officials received a response from neighboring Allentown about the borough increasing its contribution to the Hope Fire Company.

The Upper Freehold governing body wanted a reply by March 2, and threatened legal action if the matter could not be resolved. In the response, Allentown Mayor Stuart Fierstein stated that the Borough Council would consider the issue at its next meeting with the borough attorney.

Township Administrator Dianne Kelly hand-delivered the township’s letter to the borough on Feb. 22. The letter contained an invoice for what the township calculated as Allentown’s fire service costs for the past five years, a request for the borough to increase its annual contribution to the Hope Fire Company by $50,000 and a Fire Shared Services Agreement (FSSA) for 2011.

Fierstein’s Feb. 24 letter acknowledges receipt of the township’s letter and states, “The materials contained therein need to be reviewed at a future council meeting during executive session with our municipal attorney. There is no meeting prior to the requested date set by you for a response. We will take this matter up at our next meeting when our attorney is available and advise you thereafter.”

According to Upper Freehold, Allentown paid approximately 18 percent of the fire service costs in 2010 while Upper Freehold paid 82 percent. The township’s invoice stated that Allentown owes $486,189, including $16,526 for the fourth quarter of 2010.

According to Upper Freehold, the costs of firefighting for 2006-10 was $1,612,201, of which Allentown paid $319,911 and the township paid the rest. One-half of the total cost for that time period would be $806,101, and the township is requesting Allentown pay its remaining difference of $486,189.

According to Upper Freehold, no money has been appropriated for firefighter training since 2006, when $1,348 was spent. Salaries and wages for firefighters, other than first position firefighter Doug Vorp, rose from $122,276 in 2006 to $207,500 in 2010. Health benefit costs for firefighters went from $40,724 in 2006 to $76,084 in 2010.