Deputy Mayor Langert On Fire Budget: Today, The Township Committee Delivered For Taxpayers And Voters Of Lakewood

fire budget meeting[CLICK HERE FOR RESOLUTION] [VIDEO – MEETING & VIDEO STATEMENT FROM DEPUTY MAYOR LANGERT]  This morning, the Committee met to announce the decrease in the fire budget. The proposed budget, which was defeated on election day, saw a decrease of $300,000 over the proposed reduction from last year’s budget. The following is Deputy Mayor Langert’s statement which he read during this morning reading. “On February 19, I voted in favor of the budget because I felt that the commissioners and their staff did a great job with a budget that increased the number of paid fireman to six, but at the same time reduced the tax burden by approximately $143,000.00″.

deputy_mayor_on_fire_budget_tls“The majority of the people who voted that day, however, did not share the same feelings. The budget was defeated.  As an elected member of the Township Committee, I have an obligation and a duty to listen to the voice of the public, my employers”. 

“The voters who elected me have expressed their feelings and the message I heard was clear:  The reduction to the budget was not enough. That is why we are more than tripling the amount of the tax cut from $132,648.00 to $432,648.00″. 

”I have been assured that this cut will in no way compromise the fire protection we have in Lakewood. I believe this is what the voters want – maximum fire protection at the lowest possible cost.”

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  1. Question: Mr. Langert, if the budget cut won’t hurt Lakewood’s fire protection in anyway than why didn’t you originally propose such a cut. Surely, you must have been convinced that a greater fire budget would produce greater protection in Lakewood of fire. Thus, a decrease in budget must mean either we are cutting wasteful spending or we are putting ourselves at greater risk in regards to fire protection. Mr. Langert, why did you propose a higher budget? I’d also like to comment that the fire budget isn’t the source of higher taxes. In fact, I say Mr. Langert’s proposed budget for the fire department was correct and that the voters are merely expressing frustration with their high property taxes. I say we let the people of Lakewood vote on whether we want to terminate the Blue Claws stadium. I say we let the voters of Lakewood vote on the PWD budget.

  2. “I believe this is what the voters want – maximum fire protection at the lowest possible cost.” That statement makes absolutely no sense as it is self-contradictory.

  3. “The majority of the people who voted that day, however, did not share the same feelings. The budget was defeated. Because they didn’t know what they were voting for. That’s what happen’s when you don’t do your own research. Perfect example of how this town is all followers not leaders.

  4. you are going to see change..I promise you that. You can get blood from a rock but you are asking those volunteers to work with less. I am ashamed of this town..Picking on volunteers..what has this town come to. Thank goodness I am moving

  5. Thanks Mr langert you are the best keep up all the difficult perseverance that you endure on our behalf and the daunting task that you undertake for our good!

  6. Lakewood has the lowest fire tax rate of any surrounding town by 3 fold and we are expected to believe that with the tremendous growth that is going on we will get the same protection. Once you force all of the brave men and women out that protect us FOR FREE, the fire budget will need to increase by 4 times to hire a paid dept. Dumb, Dumb and Dumber

  7. #1 has the right answer its time to volunteer to fight fires in another town, this is gonna get to be too dangerous for me to volunteer my life for a town that is cutting money in the wrong departments once again.

    It’s been fun, exciting, rewarding and an honor but when you put my life in danger it’s time to go elsewhere!!!!

  8. Yes to all of the Anonymous posts. Taxes hurt people.(read it twice please)
    But cutting taxes “feels” like it hurts more.
    Thank you for trying to live within the budget, my budget.
    and to all the volunteer firefighters, i thank you for your dedication and hard work.
    Again, thank you!

  9. If I heap praise on Langert and put down the LFD or LPD you’ll print it. But if I say that the township committee should give up something to benefit the town, the sacred township committee, you won’t print it. Good going Scoop! Right is right, things need to be given up for the good of the town and health benefits for the township committee should go!!!!!!!!!
    On the other hand, I whole heartly heep praise on our Mayor…he’s the best!

  10. This is an error of major proportions. Our town needs Lakewood’s Bravest. This is not a way to show appreciation for their service. It is a slap in the face.

  11. After reading the above comments I now know YOU people have no idea what the town just did to the taxpayers. The tax rate will only go down .5 cents, that is 1/2 penny, WOW!!!! Now what just happened is the money the town fathers took was to buy trucks with cash. Now the fire district will have to BOND buy a truck and equipment. A $200,000 pumper cash price will cost almost $500,000 to buy with the bond costing. Saving money there aren’t we???? And down the road when the fire district goes out for a bond the public will have to approve the bond, that is when the loud mouths will say no to the bond and endanger the Volunteers with the outdated equipment. Write down the names of the town fathers who voted for this so that you will know who to blame when this back fires! The fire district was the only solvent governing body in the town that did not spend money on a credit card, until now. You are complaining how bad the township is run and how high your taxes are, they just MADE the fire district the same way, THANK YOU so much.

  12. how about we close some of the fire dept. and merge them, this way we dont need to waste of all of our money on 5 different stations? Why do we need new buildings every few years or trucks? Why do these houses need pool tables and plasma tv’s? alot of money wasted for such a time when we are financially burdened. Do the cheifs all need brand new vehicles every few years?
    I dont see this much money being placed into ambulances which ARE used everyday and have many more mileage then these fire trucks? Or police cars.
    How about we stop spoiling ourselves and be realistic. Work with what we have instead of always expecting more. PD looks at layoffs, EMS looks at layoffs and yet we still find millions of dollars that are needed for a few full timers and a secretary who makes close to if not over $100,000 a YEAR.
    Amazing how we feel who is more important in this town, and yet i remember the fire dept REFUSING to work with ems dept in merging, now they want more money and will complain when they dont get it.

  13. for the courage to do the people’s will, but in a sober manner which minimizes the hurt. Difficult times call for serious leadership. Thank you for being that and more for all of Lakewood.

  14. Lets face it, how many of our Frum community voted? This election took place on our Sabbos. These firemen are putting their lives on the line for all of us. We really should appreciate what they do. No need to cut up to triple the amount. who is pocketing the rest of this $$$$.

  15. I am a third generation Lakewood fire person, in June it will be the start of my 41st year of service. I have missed many family celebrations and caused my wife much worry while I was at a fire but It was OK as we felt I was doing something important for our town.

    Politicians come and go, let’s be honest here, once elected their only purpose is to pander to the vocal majority to get re-elected. If they truly had the town’s interest in heart as they stated today, the Committee would have stated in public what they admitted to us in private that it was a good fiscally sound budget and they could see no reason for major cuts. Also, how could anyone truly interested in saving money ask the only department in town which pays its own way as it needs things to put the people in this town in more debt by bonding equipment? That’s like asking you as a homeowner to use your credit card and accrue interest and fees when you can pay cash.
    The Committee states the reason they want this is so things do not cost the taxpayers so much now and taxpayers down the road (when they’re out of office and don’t have to worry) will have to pay for it.
    And that is what is wrong with this Town, County, State and Country, all have the attitude let’s borrow and spend it like crazy and let the people pay for it later. Well if you read a real newspaper beyond the weekly throwaways and look at your tax bills you know that later is here. And what did this all save on the tax rate, half a cent maybe? Is it worth all the bad feelings generated with the volunteers? Where are all these rebel rousers when it’s over the county budget (up) township budget (people who live in glass houses….) and the school budget ( let’s not touch that sacred cow courtesy busing) ?. We always need new members, are they willing to sacrifice their time, maybe their life? Nope, let others do that.
    The fire department has always had to deal with politicians from both parties, we are used to it. What we are not used to is the lack of support from the community. People tell us what a great job we do, keep up the good work, we would hate to pay for a fully paid department. Where were these people when it was time to show their support at the voting booth, at the township committee meetings and at the budget hearing today. We give hours of our time to you every month, are we not worth some of yours?
    Fire fighting is in my bones, support for my comrades is too ingrained in me for me to walk out on them. As long as I’m physically able I will answer alarms. But due to the lack of support from our community I tell you now that it will be a long time before I give of my time to any street fair, grandparent’s day, night out or any other community event not directly involved with firefighting. Why volunteer my spare time for a community that will no longer support me?

  16. To # 21
    Would you really like us to walk because this town would be quite (moderated) if we did. Keep pushing us pal, many of us are on the fence about sticking around and risking our lives for a town full of people who clearly don’t care about us and merely pay us lip service when they claim they do. It’s only gonna take a little more pushing and you could see the bulk of this department take a hike to towns that appreciate us and our safety. It’s really easy to scapegoat emergency services but what happens when you’ve cut all you can (compromising your safety in the process) and you still have taxes to pay. Maybe then you will realize the real waste and problems are not emergency services or DPW,

    *It’s courtesy busing,

    *Using DPW to pick up trash in private developments instead of making the residents hire private contractors like in every other town in NJ except Lakewood,

    *A high number of tax exempt properties,

    So keep pushing us, you won’t be making snide remarks when your paying ten times what you pay now to hire paid firefighters.

  17. The fact that they have separate fire houses next door to each other on cederbridge and on monmouth ave should be investigated. They should be merged and sold!

  18. Hey GET REAL!!

    YOU are the one I was talking about before. YOU don’t know what you are talking about!!! The fire stations are spread out for a reason, one being response time, that means getting to the fire quickly!!! Where would like to build the ONE big station you think is needed, next to your house? What about the rest of the town, with traffic as bad as it is the trucks may never be in time. Another reason is the insurance ISO that rates your town, which your home owners insurance company goes by to determine your home owners rate. So later down the road when YOU defeat the BONDS the the fire district has to now buy and the ISO comes back to inspect to find out dated equipment, UP will go your home owners rates. Listen and read before you talk stupid.

  19. I agree with Old Man. I spent over 40 years in the LFD and am 3rd generation member.
    What Lakewood has done shows a lack of respect for the time and energy the firefighters DONATE to Lakewood.

    The reason for the placement of fire houses is to cover all areas of town and to help keep the fire insurance rates as low as possible. If fire houses are combined there are areas that will pay a higher insurance rate.

    The taxpayers do not pay for the TVs or pool tables, the members raise money for these things.

  20. Just seeing how frantic the LFD people get any time anyone DARES even look at their budget or ask any questions, makes me realize something is not right over there.

  21. Dear taxpayers,

    Your wallet just got picked pocketed today!

    Prior to 1980’s, the old joke around the fire station was that every thing was paid for by BONDING it. Smaller fire equipment that had 5 to 8 years of life expectancy before it was taken out of service and buried in the land fill – was still being paid for some 15 years later thanks to the BONDING process.
    The fire apparatus was also paid for by BONDING, The useful life of the average volunteer fire truck was 20 years before it need to be replaced. There were some units operated by the career department that need to be taken out of service after about 5 to 10 years because of constant duty, this equipment again was BONDED and it was still being paid for some ten years later after it taken out of service.

    Fast forward to about 1988, the commissioners saw the light and realized that BONDING was a disservice to the taxpayers. It made no business sense to still be paying for equipment no longer being used and discarded, regardless if it was a small purchase or a large purchase .

    It was cheaper for a few years to put a percentage of estimated cost of an up coming apparatus purchase or other big ticket items in the budget under capital improvement and pay for the cost in full when purchased and realizing a savings of 5 to 15 percent on the purchase when certain components were prepaid.

    on a $ 500,000 apparatus your talking some $$ when getting a discount of 5 to 15 % YOU WIN- MR. TAXPAYER

    After today, you will bond the next pumper truck to be purchased. Add the bonding fees and interest paid over 20 plus years that $500,000 truck will cost $600,000 when its all paid off YOU LOSE- MR.TAXPAYER

    A smart grandfather once said. Only take a mortgage on your house and never take a loan of more than 4 years on any thing with 4 wheels and every thing else pay cash . That free advice still holds true today

    A few township committeemen live for another day and fixed something that wasn’t broke today. just open up that wallet and givem some more greenbacks like a good taxpayer for the next twenty years The vocal minority wins again!

  22. To #26, Why do you want them sold, so you can put up more of your comminities condos??? What a joke this town is, somebody must be making out good!! You don’t see this much construction in other towns, just leave your enviroment and see…

  23. The issue is that the paid ff’s cannot share facilities with the volunteers, this is why they always construct at the SAME location (ie Monmouth ave, cederbridge) TWO separate buildings instead of one slightly larger one.

  24. We want them sold in-order to lower our massive tax burden, is this hard to comprehend?
    Do you think we are cash cows who can fund multiple firehouses?

  25. This is not a racial issue and it is offending and unprofessional of you to make statements like “your communities condos”.

  26. I have watched my husband and father-in-law rush out of family parties, at 3 AM, during Rosh Hashana dinner, Break the Fast, or Seder in order to put themselves in danger because there was a fire in Lakewood. I have watched them grieve when 2 firefighters were killed fighting a fire in Lakewood. The Board of Fire Commisioners has always tried to pay the least to provide the best possible equipment to keep the firefighters safe. It amazes me that there is so much criticism from a group of people these volunteers go out of their way to protect! Grow up!! You can not ask people to put their lives in danger with outdated, inferior equipment! Some day you may have a fire and no one will come!

  27. Oh editor, is there something wrong with taxpayer demanding an explanation as to why they cannot share facilities at the same location by constructing a slightly larger building instead of two?
    It seems that Lakewood taxpayer are funding two separate fire fighting departments. A ridicules situation.

  28. Although we appreciate the big sacrifices these brave men and women make on our behalf, it’s obvious that there has not been enough over site and we have been indeed taken for a ride.
    We must now thoroughly analyze the situation and make adjustments, taxes are just to high, we must not capitulate to threats and bullying.

  29. Its not about the volunteers , can someone please explain what the volunteers are losing if the budget is reduced because we are financing a truck instead of buying it all cash? thank you

  30. Let this be a message for #21 567 says:
    I am the actual badge 567 through Lakewood township and i want it known that this message is not from me nor i do agree with what was written, and to TLS editor i would like it for his name to be removed the 567 so there are no assumptions that i am writing messages like this.
    And to #21 if you are going to write something like this dont hide behind a number use your name and dont let others be blames for your comments.


    badge 567

  31. editor: either post the last two comments I wrote,or i’l say them veratim by the next township meeting, and mention that the editor deleted them!!! I’m sure the township, and you will look very good!!!!!!

  32. Hey Taken for a ride says:

    I love how you choose your words. If the fire budget is “a massive tax burden” then how do you describe the township budget? And what are you saying and doing about it. I think the fire budget was a plain and simple power grab (moderated)

  33. please check out the link below of a fire in a 10,000 sqr ft McMansionn MD

    9 (yes NINE) volunteer FF were injured in what started of to be a small fire. 2 are still in the hospital.

    When you take away the ability of Fire Officials to operate a department that you do not know anything about, you harm in the short team the FF, and in this case in the long time, you.

    What you did today was save Maybe $10.00 a year, yes a whopping $10.00. what you also did was get a dedicated group of volunteers angry at how you treat them.

    Read the article and look at the pictures and just a small idea of what we have to look forward to when we receive the call to go.

    G-D bless those FF.

  34. Why Is a little over three million a big issue? WHY IS NO ONE EVER TALKING ABOUT BUSING? HOW MANY MILLIONS IS SPENT ON THAT? “O i rather have my house burn down but my kids got to get to school!”

  35. research and knowledge goes a long way. ems merging with the fire dept might be a good idea and in fact asbury park has just that, but keep in mind that if you look at the ENTIRE picture they are paid not volunteer. (i think they are only paid). everyone wants lower taxes and a lower budget, but if we do the math we aren’t saving anything in the long run. our job as a community is to protect ourselves and our volunteers. lets do the research and find out who the real spenders are and find out who is leading our flock astray. the people who are in the front lines angry at the meetings are fighting a personal fight rather than being good trustworthy journalists. we can stand around any scene of a fire or at a township meeting with a camera, but we have to DO the RESEARCH and talk to the people involved working and saving lives.

    thank you volunteers and to the chiefs. great job as always!

  36. What happened to those 200 applications you said would join? Where are they? You wanna help us..Join us..we have positions available

  37. I think the Fire Dept. Commissioners and Chiefs need to remember how nice they have been to everyone living and owning a business in Lakewood over the years and start handling fire calls like some of the other surrounding towns in New Jersey do. There are towns located within New Jersey that are now and have been fining residents and business owners for repeated false fire, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, accidental water flow alarms, blocking fire hydrants, parking in fire lanes, vehicle fires, etc…. Some of these calls are a nuisance to the Fire Dept., Police Dept. and EMS responders that put too many lives at jeopardy for nothing and nobody ever got punished for it, well the time has now finally come for the Lakewood Fire Dept. to re-evaluate their response policy and read up and take action on the ordinances already in place. I don’t believe the Lakewood Fire Dept. fines or issues violation notices to residents and business owners now or in the past but maybe they should reconsider this policy to make up for the loss and handle these violations and incidents just like every other town.

  38. Hey Avi #2. How about you drop your issue with the Blue Claws Stadium and bring up the real issues of Lakewoods High Taxes? Are you man enough to withstand the firestorm that would occur if the an auditor ever took a real good look at the books. You know what I’m talking about.

  39. To Old Man, Exempt Firefighter and all other wonderful firemen and women and their families- there are still residents who support you; words can not express our sincere thanks for putting your lives on the line to save ours. thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

  40. listen alot of talk he said she said.. most of you dont know the truth,, seperate firehouses==if the paid fireman were in volly houses the twp would loose them as volunteers.. ie state law..but the need to go nuy new fire truck 2 for each 1 man ?? not necessary. all the rest of you. mr langert wants the twp commette is “doing” something except taking $$ from the twp they talk of cut here cut there, remove services.. well to this day have they given back any pay?? umm no they havent. attack ems dept last year, police late last yr. dpw remember the 800,000 they spent on yellow garbage cans for recycling.. that werent required by the county.. now attack the fire dept.. if the twp has to go to a full complete paid dept that means doubleing the fire budget.. ponder some of this..

  41. To save money on fuel and extra ware and tare on the fire trucks. We will no longer bring them out for non fire related emergencies. So no more stopping off at all the schools in the town if you want to see the trucks you can come to the fire house. No more burning of the bread ( there is more trash in those dumpsters than bread anyway). We should also do away with the fourth of July fireworks they are never on the fourth anymore. That will also save the town money by not having them. No more grandparents day sorry seniors they rest of the town wants us to cut back. No more fireworks for the Blueclaws that will save the town money for the stadium also. We will no longer do driver training either you all think that is just joy riding around town. Maybe we shouldn’t do storm standbys anymore it costs a little extra money to keep the lights on. We will cut out all the landscaping at the firehouses the grass and bushes can grow wild. As time goes by we will cut any place we can.

  42. take 2 million from bussing to keep the fire department rolling. We will have a little extra funds to beautify the buildings

  43. What a lot of people don’t get is that the LFD budget has a little bit of extra money in it so when a new truck is needed they can pay CASH for it and not have to BORROW the money and then pay it back WITH INTEREST. This saves the town the money that would be paid as interest. It’s like saving money in a piggy bank until you have enough to buy something you want. LFD does not spend money foolishly. Yes, it recently bought a new ladder truck. Do you know why? To reach the tops of the new apartment building that are being build in town. The old one didn’t reach that high. And the old one was fighting fires since before 1971. Wouldn’t you replace a car that was that old and your life depended on it?

    Being as the committee is complaining about the LFD budget, let’s take up the rent at the Blue Claws Stadium. Who, in their right mind, thinks that $2500 (as mentioned on TLS a while back) is the proper amount for the rent the township is getting? That is the equivalent of the rent of 2 homes in town. I believe the stadium is a lot bigger than 2 homes. The committee should raise the rent to a more realistic amount.

    And about that courtesy busing of the children what live within the state mandated walking distance? Don’t get me started on that.

  44. I think all the volunteer FF should go somewhere else and let Lkwd pay for the FF’s. I don’t care what happens here, we’re leaving. Let them reap what they sow. This town will implode. The tax base cannot support the needed services and the money is being wasted on trival things…

  45. #24 Well stated. Thank you Volunteers! Hours given can never be regained. We are all lucky to have you. Now for the budget:
    I do agree with the volunteers, they should stop every extra minute that does not involve fires, fine repeat calls for fire alarms, forget the courtesy visits,you aren’t getting any good PR from any of this anyway! Let the town pay someone to burn the dumpster clean outs, etc.
    Our town is totally out of control. It has been stated that we are growing,[a statement that can’t be denied] growth is not always good.
    I believe that Lakewood offers services for less than towns around us, our taxes are not out of control yet, and we cannot maintain this for much longer! Less building, less bussing will help control our taxes

  46. good evening everyone,

    nice to see everyone is passionate about the subject on the fire dept. as a wife of a firefighter here in town i know that we give a lot of my husband to the town just as hatzolah, chaveirim, and ems. they are all volunteer, yes but its much more. there is a need to have all of them and they are wanted.
    yes, in todays economy we are all strapped, but just as you need food on the table we also require the volunteers of every dept to help us. as citizens of this town you can demand a class a sit down with the commissioners and ask for some understanding.
    the reaction from everyone is overwhelming especially when the facts are wrong. its not fair for the citizens nor the volunteers that everyone is either uninformed or misinformed. the citizens of lakewood should fight for the there rights to make things better not make the wrong decision based on rumor.
    to all of those angry vengeful people, you should be ashamed of yourselves for duping your fellow citizens. they deserve so much better. they deserve to know the facts not the rumors that you fill them with! (i hope and pray that you are forgiven).
    our firefighers your firefighters that risk their lives everyday and deserve to have the most they can to help us. all of their gear needs to be the best so that they will come home to their families after helping this town. you and they both deserve it.
    Please allow us to teach you all that you need to know about your fire department. we want to teach you. next time you see one of the firefighters just ask them. they will inform you.

    thank you one and all. keep up the great work.

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