Legislation would change funding limit for NJ volunteer departments

Contributed by John Sabel

Recognizing the increasing budget difficulties affecting many of New Jersey's volunteer fire agencies, Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi (District 16-Morris & Somerset Counties) has introduced legislation raising the maximum amount a municipality may contribute to a volunteer fire company or fire district from $90,000.00 per year to $120,000.00 per year.

Introduced on January 4, 2007, Assembly Bill A3844 proposes to amend N.J.S.40A:14-34. This statute authorizes the governing body of any municipality in New Jersey to raise and appropriate funds to be granted annually to volunteer fire companies or fire districts within their jurisdiction. Currently, the maximum amount of this annual contribution is capped at $90,000.00. The amendment rectifies a failure to account for inflation since the original passage of the statute, and would provide for biennial adjustments to account for future inflation.

During a January 24, 2007 telephone interview, Assemblyman Biondi stated: "I fully support our firefighters and rescue service volunteers. I think they're very deserving and feel we need to do all we can to get them the tools and equipment they need."

The Bill is currently pending action by the New Jersey Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Jerry Green (District 22 – Plainfield). Supporters of this Bill are encouraged to contact Assemblyman Green and their local New Jersey Assemblypersons.

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