Q & A With Commissioner Incumbent Juan Ortiz – Budget Document Included

[DOCUMENT SUBMITTED BY JUAN] The following questions – which were also presented to candidate Larry Loigman – were answered by incumbent Juan Ortiz. The following are the questions and answers. 1: Is it necessary to have a Board of Fire Commissioners?

A: Yes, a Board of Fire Commissioners gives the volunteers a financial base to operate without political interference and outside a political environment with people with an understanding of fire service and the needs of volunteer fire companies whose sole purpose is fire protection. A board gives the ability to guarantee a fire tax that allows the fire department to plan years ahead, saving dollars, and voters can still vote on the budget. Also keep in mind that the budget is regulated by the state.

2: What can be done to strengthen the volunteer component of the fire department?

A: Over the last few years we have streamlined the application process and even added links on the Township website and The Volunteer Fire Department website, where one can download an application to join. We continue to advertise for volunteers and we work with officials who work with the community to get more of the community involved. We have started a LOSAP program to help retain members.

3: Get Jewish community involved?

A: Again, officials work with us to get more members. Also the current orthodox firemen give positive feedback to their friends and all are welcomed. I pay taxes and if we can maintain and increase the volunteer rolls, we can help keep our taxes down.

4: How can the fire departments be organized in a more efficient manner?

A: The Lakewood Fire Department is an efficient single department, where other departments are multiple departments in other towns. We are a combination department and have continued to maintain a mostly volunteer department, saving on taxes. ISO, Insurance Service Organization, states how many fire house we must have and where to place them.

5: Why is this election important to the Lakewood residents?

A: Every election is important and we should excersise our right to vote.

6: Why is Fire elections held on Shabos?

A: State law requires that all Fire District elections be held on the 3rd Saturday in February. The Board did receive a request to increase the poll hours and to increase poll locations. We met with Commissioner Shenkolesky and Election Borad members. Commissioner Shenkolesky’s recommended not to increase the poll locations because of difficulty in splitting the town into multiple locations. We did increase the poll hours till 10 pm, triple the voting machines, quadrupled the election workers, re-located the fire company, added additional parking, 2 light towers and 5 Police Officers.

7: What are the challenges facing Fire Department?

A: Our biggest challenge is getting volunteers. Our members are dedicated and proud to serve their community. The training, camaraderie and general firefighting are excellent and second to none. Just ask any of the firefighters. We are one. We are the Lakewood Fire Department. TLS.

This content, and any other content on TLS, may not be republished or reproduced without prior permission from TLS. Copying or reproducing our content is both against the law and against Halacha. To inquire about using our content, including videos or photos, email us at [email protected].

Stay up to date with our news alerts by following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

**Click here to join over 15,000 receiving our Whatsapp Status updates!**

**Click here to join the official TLS WhatsApp Community!**

Got a news tip? Email us at [email protected], Text 415-857-2667, or WhatsApp 609-661-8668.


  1. its abt time we have “fun unzera’ on this tax payer funded org. we have a right to have a professional like Larry watching out for our funds. Larry we are behind you 100 percent

  2. Dear lakewood community,

    Let me introduce myself, my name is yosef mutterperl. I am a proud member of JR hose co #3 Station 66 here in Lakewood. I have been a member for over 3 yrs now.

    There has been a lot of debating going back and forth about the fire department and lately about the commissioners. As the election is this coming Motzai Shabbos (Saturday Night) I would like to dispel some of those notions.

    First I would like to say that I support the incumbent commissioners Juan Ortiz & Vincent Lebello for the upcoming elections. Being a fire fighter is not a simple job. Being a VOLUNTEER fire fighter is even harder. Most if not all have families, jobs, in school, and other responsibilities besides dropping everything when you call and need our help.

    Now I know that anyone may run for the commissioners position, but to have someone run just because the community want someone Jewish in the position is wrong. I listened to the interview with one of the candidates and all it seemed to me was that he wants to cut taxes, disband the commissioner’s office, close fire houses, say that the fire department don’t want any more volunteers and in general make it harder and more dangerous for volunteers to fight fires.

    Would you want someone non Jewish to be a Rosh Hayashiva in bmg, or someone with no medical knowledge to be a head of a hospital or a general of the army with no military background. The answer is no. The same is here. The commissioners that are running have over 50 years of FIRE FIGHTING experience and know what is needed to safely fight a fire and to protect the fire fighters so that they may go home to their wife’s, husbands, children, parents…

    Another fact that was brought up was that people that want to join are given a hard time or that they are not wanted. The only way for me to answer this is to say that is not true. When I joined I was the only Jewish member in my company and I was welcomed with open arms and so were the other 3 frum Jews that are in station 66 and the other 3 frum Jews that are in other companies. There is a process, like anything else. If anyone has any questions about this process please feel free to come visit me at my store (SSSS, sorry had to get that plug in) and I will explain the process.

    Now the budget. On average those who pay taxes, pay approximately $130 to $150 a year (not per month, per year). That comes to about $12.50 per month (less than a few of my sandwiches that I sell at SSSS, yes there is that plug again). I know you have heard this before but I will state it again. The insurance companies use a stat called ISO. They use this to rate, how well the fire department is so that they could judge how fast we respond to save the house that they have to insure. LFD ISO is, close to or 100%. This saves you money. If our rating is low it could cost you hundreds of dollars more (more than what you are currently paying in the fire budget). By voting down the budget you might only save $1.00 a month, but you could be increasing your insurance by much much more.

    To end with, if anyone has any questions, like I said before, feel free to come visit me at my store SSSS (plug again) or come to a commissioner meeting.

    Yosef Mutterperl
    Lakewood Volunteer Firefighter
    JR Hose Co. #3, Station 66

  3. What you want is to have a budget of a million dollars, and that is an impossible task for the times..You can not run anything on a million dollars anymore..Sign of the times.
    Nice Job Juan!! Keep up the good work.

  4. Mr Marks was not a member of Engine Company No. 1 , more fitting would be to name five streets in honor of the three police officer and the two firefighters who died in the line of duty while serving the town

Comments are closed.