Marlboro residents will vote on plan for new firehouse

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Voting on Election Day, voting ballot

MARLBORO – Residents of Fire District No. 3 in Marlboro will be asked to approve the construction of a new firehouse on Route 79 in a special election to be held on Oct. 13.

The vote will be held from 2-9 p.m. at the Morganville Independent Fire Company firehouse, 393 Route 79, Marlboro. Only residents of Fire District No. 3 may vote. Officials said if the referendum is approved, the new firehouse would cost $6.98 million to construct and take about a year to complete.

Fire District No. 3 is the northern portion of Marlboro in the Wickatunk, Spring Valley and Pleasant Valley portions of the township. The fire district encompasses portions of Route 79 from Wyncrest Road to the Marlboro-Aberdeen Township border, and portions of Texas Road, Route 520 and Conover Road.

For many years, Fire District No. 3 was serviced by the Morganville Independent Fire Company and by the Morganville Volunteer Fire Company, 78 Tennent Road. The two fire companies merged in March and formed the Morganville Fire Company.

Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman Ian Thompson said one reason for the merger was that the board was spending more than $100,000 per year to rent the two firehouses.

“The board found that having to pay for two buildings, two fleets of fire trucks, and almost two of everything was not cost-effective,” Thompson said. “We also found that having half the members responding to one building and half the members responding to another building was severely handicapping our ability to respond to fires.”

The new building is proposed to house the new Morganville Fire Company. Construction would take place on the property at 393 Route 79. The current Morganville Independent Fire Company firehouse, which totals 7,880 square feet, would be used until the new building has been completed. At that time the current firehouse would be demolished and additional parking would be created.

Plans for the proposed firehouse show 14,438 square feet of space on the first floor, including room for vehicles, office space, storage space, a kitchen and locker rooms. The second floor, with 2,379 square feet of space, will contain a lounge and two rehabilitation centers for firefighters, according to Board of Fire Commissioners Treasurer John Turi.

Thompson said the current firehouse on Route 79 has narrow bays that are suitable for smaller vehicles of the past. Other issues at the building include limited space for storage, offices, training facilities, conference rooms, a decontamination room and a turnout gear room.

Fire district representatives said a resident in Fire District No. 3 whose home is assessed at $300,000 currently pays $141 annually in fire district taxes. If the referendum passes, that would increase to $181.

Fire district representatives said a resident in Fire District No. 3 whose home is assessed at $500,000 currently pays $235 annually in fire district taxes. If the referendum passes, that would increase to $302.

“We feel that anyone who is presented with the facts would be supportive of an updated and modern fire station,” Thompson said. “The board decided to have a vote as soon as possible as it is projected that waiting another year would increase the costs of the project significantly. This would be the first tax increase in over a decade. Once new homes are built (in Fire District No. 3) and our population increases as projected, the fire district’s tax rate will return to a lower rate.”

The vote on the referendum was originally scheduled for Aug. 25, however, the date was changed to Oct. 13 because fire district officials wanted additional time to reach out to residents with details regarding the plan.