Fire District 3 Commissioners Relent, Agree To Maintain Salaries

The five commissioners of Fire District 3 have changed their minds about the $144 salary increases they requested.

The commissioners, whose territory includes the areas covered by Community Fire Company on Hamilton Street and East Franklin Volunteer Fire Company on Pine Grove Avenue, had requested the Township Council approve 2014 salaries of $7,428.

But in the face of Township Council opposition to those increases, the commissioners said in a Jan. 21, 2014 letter to Township Clerk Ann Marie McCarthy that they would accept continuing their 2013 salaries of $7,284 into 2014.

Although fire district operations are paid for through a separate fire district tax approved by voters each February, state law mandates that a town’s governing body approve of salaries paid the districts’ fire commissioners.

The council at its Jan. 7 meeting tabled the commissioners’ request for an increase while approving requested increases for commissioners in fire districts 1, 2 and 4.

The council wanted District 3 commissioner to come to the Jan. 28 meeting to explain why they felt they needed the increase.

In a letter signed by District 3’s deputy clerk, John Ritterson, the commissioners said that “Due to such short notice and scheduling conflicts, we are unable to attend. We understand that the Town Council has not approved the salary increases we have requested so at this time we will remain at the previously approved salary of $7,284.”

The council later approved the district 3 commissioner’s revised salary request.

The move to table the original request was spurred by Deputy Mayor Brian Regan, who questioned why District 3, which, he said, isn’t the largest fire district in the township, but has the largest commissioner salaries.

Regan said at the meeting that commissioners from other districts “have expressed concern about the increase of salaries for District 3.”

Voters in each fire district will have a chance to weigh in on proposed budgets and cast ballots for district commissioners in the Feb. 15 fire district elections.

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