Hillsborough Township prepares for fire election

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Hillsborough Township residents with have decisions to make on Saturday when the election for two open seats for fire commissioners and five public questions are to be decided.

Polls will be open from 2-9 p.m. and voting will be held at the Peter J. Biondi Municipal Complex at 379 South Branch Rd. in Hillsborough.

The three candidates running for fire commissioners are Charles T. Nuara, Marian Fenwick-Shaffer and Jeffery T. Mitchell.

Nuara is vying for a third consecutive three-year term as fire commissioner. He has also been board chairman for four years.

“I like working as a fire commissioner,” Nuara said. “I am a volunteer fire fighter and have been for 27 years. I think we have put together such a good package over the past four to five years. I have helped with getting everything the firefighters need for safety, protection and the apparatus they need. Over the last two years we have had to replace vehicles, which we have done without going over our two percent cap.”

He said he is different from the other two candidates because of his experience.

“I know what the firefighters need. I was a fire chief for three years before I became a fire commissioner,” he said. “As a commissioner for the past six years I have grown in that position. I want to go back and be the treasurer, because it is so important that everyone gets what they need.”

He said at the top of his agenda, if elected, would be keeping the firefighters safe, taking care of the people in the town and also keep the fire tax under control.

Jeffery T. Mitchell is running for his first term on the board. He is a retired Master Sergeant, who served in the Air Force for 24 years and is also a volunteer fire fighter.

“I have gotten to the point in my career where I can serve my community in Hillsborough. The position of fire commissioner is almost exactly what I did when I was in the Air Force,” Mitchell said. “In the Air Force, I served in leadership roles in aircraft maintenance, finance, training and quality assurance. When in finance I was responsible for $2.5 million by myself to spend my unit’s funds.”

Mitchell said what differentiates him from the other candidates is his out of the box experience.

“My commitment to service is another thing I bring to the table. The Air Force core guide is something I have lived by for almost 30 years. It is integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all you do. I have always served my country and community,” he said.

If elected Mitchell said the number one topic on his agenda would be to make certain firefighters have the equipment they would need to do their job quickly, efficiently and safely.

Marian Fenwick-Shaffer is also running for her first term to the board. She has served on the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment in Hillsborough as chairwoman.

“I have experience serving on boards and commissions. Based on my experience in that respect, plus having my husband Bill Shaffer who has 32 years of being a volunteer fireman, I decided to run,” Fenwick-Shaffer said. “I received a lot of encouragement to run in the past year.”

She said what makes her different from the other candidates is her experience at the local government level.

“My dad was also a 25-year volunteer fireman. I know and understand the sacrifices our fighters and their families make everyday,” Fenwick-Shaffer said. “I would bring a different perspective to the board. I grew up with a fireman and I have a husband who is a fireman. With my experience at the local and county government level I know how things operate and function in terms of meetings and all. I also have experience with a budgets from when I was working with the capital planning budget”

She said if elected the top topic on her agenda is to ensure the health, safety and well-fare of the fire fighters and to make certain they have the equipment, technology and training.

The five questions also on the ballot are:

Shall the board of the fire commissioners of the Township of Hillsborough, County of Somerset operate for the year 2019 with a budget of $3,238,782 with the amount to be raised by taxation of $2,711, 665?

Shall the board of the fire commissioners of the Township of Hillsborough, County of Somerset be authorized to spend not in excess of $280,000 for the purchase of a replacement fire truck?

Shall the board of the fire commissioners of the Township of Hillsborough, County of Somerset be authorized to spend not in excess of $160,000 for the purchase of a replacement fire investigation vehicle?

Shall the board of the fire commissioners of the Township of Hillsborough, County of Somerset be authorized to spend not in excess of $75,000 for the purchase of firefighter turnout gear?

Shall the board of the fire commissioners of the Township of Hillsborough, County of Somerset be authorized to spend not in excess of $80,000 for the purchase of a replacement command vehicle.

If you have previously requested a mail-in ballot and are uncertain if you will be receiving one for this fire election, contact the Somerset County Clerk’s Office at 908-231-7013 for assistance.

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