Argument Over New Fire Apparatus in Fairfield Township (NJ)

The purchase of a new fire truck and other issues caused a Fairfield Township (NJ) Committee meeting to descend into chaos.

The gavel was hammered away as the committee argued and residents yelled — with one resident suggesting to have the police called.

Several issues were discussed, including a $500,000 fire engine the township has been pursuing for almost a year now for the Gouldtown Volunteer Fire Co.

Former Committeeman Benjamin Byrd stepped up to the podium to voice his opposition to purchasing the engine.

“That’s your opinion,” said Deputy Mayor Viola Thomas-Hughes. “The community needs a new fire truck.

“We all know it’s election time,” Thomas-Hughes continued, referring to Byrd’s expected run in the township’s upcoming committee election. “If you’re going to get any votes, get ’em now.”

“You guys are not doing your homework,” Byrd repeated as he turned to sit down.

“I don’t have time for this,” said Mayor JoAnne Servais as she pounded the gavel.

Wayne Carter, member of the Gouldtown Volunteer Fire Co. went to the podium next.

“The $500,000 fire truck would be replacing a fire truck that is from 1986,” Carter said. “Back then, the township spent $180,000. It’s almost 27 years later now — $500,000 is not an exorbitant amount of money for a Class A pump fire engine.”

Committeeman Michael Sharp interjected and said he was “ready to argue.”

“I’m not against a new fire truck,” Sharp said. “I’m against a fire truck for $500,000.”

Sharp then raised his objection to Commissioner Michael Morton’s vote in favor of introducing the ordinance to purchase the new fire engine because Morton is a member of the Gouldtown Volunteer Fire Co. Sharp said he feels Morton should have abstained from voting.

On May 21, the committee will vote on a bond ordinance for the purchase of the $500,000 fire truck as well as other issues.

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