JACKSON — Two bond referendums tomorrow will decide if a local fire company can construct a new building and buy a new truck.

The cost of both referendums, if passed, will be 3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on the tax rate, a spokesman from the Board of Fire Commissioners said.

One bond referendum is for a 100-foot aerial platform with a bucket on the end, said Lt. Tim Carson of Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Company No. 1. Currently, the highest any firefighter can go is 50 feet.

With houses getting taller and setbacks getting wider, the fire company needs the reach the higher truck will give them, Carson said.

Although the language in the bond reads the cost of this item will not exceed $950,000, $700,000 of the cost is coming from the department’s capital budget, Carson said. The department would only need to bond for $250,000.

The other bond referendum is for a building not to exceed $5.1 million on Brewer’s Bridge Road by the Regency Club, Carson said, in order to be “centrally located throughout the district.”

“No house would be outside one mile,” Carson said.

The building would reduce response time significantly, especially in the case of a recent fire that devastated a home, he said.

David and Keisha Johnson lost their Citadel Drive house the day before Thanksgiving. They were only able to salvage a garbage bag worth of items, neighbors said.

The fire began in a wood-burning stove and spread quickly throughout the house. Although the Johnsons and their four children were home, none of them were injured.

“I heard the alarm system go off,” Keisha Johnson said in an interview after the blaze. “Smoke was coming over the (bedroom) door. When I opened up the door, there was just fire everywhere. The windows were busting out.”

Citadel Drive is not far from the planned location for the firehouse.

With traffic the way it can be in town, the additional firehouse can shave much-needed minutes off response time to an emergency, Carson said.

Voting will take place from 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow at the firehouse, 113 N. New Prospect Road.

Posted by the Ocean County Observer on 01/13/06