Voters returned incumbent members to two Boards of Fire Commissioners in Ocean Township last Saturday and they also approved both 2014 fire district budgets.
In Oakhurst Fire District 1, incumbent Commissioner Scott Nelson ran unopposed for the single seat up for grabs on the five-member board and was re-elected with 46 votes.
Nelson, 50, has been a firefighter for 33 years and this will be his 11th year on the board.
Voters also approved Oakhurst’s total $2,141,486 fire district budget, with $1,572,850 to be raised through taxation, by 47 to 5 votes. The tax levy is $41,219 more than last year, resulting in a tax increase of one-tenth of a penny for each $100 of assessed valuation. Fire officials said the increase is due to additional operational and administrative expenses.
In Wanamassa Fire District 2, incumbent Commissioner Earl Gifford was re-elected to his fifth, three-year term after running against first-time candidate David Cohen. Gifford received 100 votes and Cohen garnered 17 votes.
Gifford, 49, has lived his entire life on the township. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 33 years.
Voters also approved the total $2,054,506 Wanamassa Fire District budget, which results in an increase of $662,708 over last year’s budget. The budget was approved by 74 to 18 votes.
Of the increase, $650,326 is for capital or operating appropriations, in this case for replacement of a 1988 pumper truck and $12,382 in increased insurance costs.
Of the total budget, $1,317,866 will be raised through taxation, or $22,408.
However, due to an increase in ratables in the district, there will be no increase in the fire district tax rate, which will remain steady at 9.3 cents for each $100 of assessed evaluation.