Cinnaminson Fire District Budget Vote is Feb. 18
The proposed budget calls for no tax increase for the average homeowner.
Cinnaminson’s Fire Department budget vote will be held next Saturday and officials are calling for a zero increase in the amount of funds raised by taxation.
Elections will be held Saturday, Feb. 18 from 2 to 9 p.m. at the community center on Riverton Road.
This is the fourth year in a row the fire district tax has remained the same. The total budget proposed for 2012 is $3,234,349, of which $2,741,234 is to be raised by taxation. According to the department’s website, the remaining funds come from grants, interest, inspection fees and from surplus carried over from last year.
For the average homeowner in Cinnaminson, whose home is valued at $295,000, there is no increase.
Fire Commissioner Rich Dietrich attributes balancing a budget to the efforts made by all five commissioners. He also praised the fire marshals for doing a stellar job with inspection fees to help offset costs.
Commissioner Robert Steel is a mechanical engineer while Commissioner Harry E. Smith III is a former Air Force firefighter.
“He has a tremendous amount of knowledge in that area,” Dietrich said of Smith.
Commissioner Roger Butler is an insurance executive and has helped keep costs down, Dietrich said. Commissioner Frank Ellison, the fire department’s newest commissioner, is an expert in safety equipment. And finally, Dietrich himself is an accountant.
“The diverse nature of our backgrounds really permits us to draw from our expertise,” Dietrich said.
Both Dietrich and Steel are running uncontested for two full terms as commissioner. Ellison is running for an unexpired term—one he filled when Commissioner Rob Dwyer left in the summer.
“We would like to see a lot of votes anyway,” Dietrich said.
Historically, fire elections do not garner many voters. Last year, less than 200 went to the polls.
“It varies,” Dietrich said of voters. “It’s not a significant number in relation to registered voters. Unfortunately, it’s on a Saturday. Maybe people don’t think of voting on a Saturday.”
The fire district tries to reach various civic groups around town to encourage voting and they feature a breakdown of their budget on their website.
Currently, there are 13 full-time firemen (that includes the fire marshal and fire inspector) and a total of nearly 50 volunteers. There are two firehouses—one on Cinnaminson Avenue and another on Taylors Lane.