Allentown believes it’s paying fair amount for fire company services

Upper Freehold mayor disappointed with resolution


The borough of Allentown, which shares fire services with Upper Freehold Township through Hope Fire Company, passed a resolution to continue discussions with the township regarding payment for fire services.

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.

The township sent the borough a letter last month containing an invoice for what the township calculated as Allentown’s fire service costs for the past five years, along with 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. The letter also noted that the township may explore legal avenues to resolve the issue.

The Borough Council passed a resolution March 8 that states that Allentown has paid its fair share of expenses but is “certainly open to continued discussion” with the township concerning the fair and equitable division of expenses in relation to Hope Fire Company. The resolution authorizes the borough’s Public Safety Committee, which includes Mayor Stuart Fierstein, to carry out negotiations with the township and to seek a resolution to the issues the township outlined in the letter.

Upper Freehold Mayor Lorisue Horsnall Mount expressed disappointment with the resolution at the Township Committee’s March 24 meeting.

“I don’t understand,” Mount said. “It regards an emergency service dealing with people’s lives, and it seems to be a matter which they can extend without a concern for consequences.”

The Upper Freehold governing body would not discuss whether it would pursue legal action against the borough because of the absence of Committeeman Steve Alexander, who serves with Mount as a liaison to Hope Fire Company. Mount said the issue would be discussed in executive session at a future meeting.