Committee mulls new fire department ordinance to reduce costs

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:39

    Andover — Municipal Attorney Fred Semrau announced at the township committee’s Dec. 12 meeting that the township was seeking to amend to the fire code with a new ordinance that would help the Andover Township Fire Department recover operation costs. The fire department recommended the ordinance because of the cost of responding to emergency calls. The department used the example of a diesel fuel spill from a vehicle passing through the township that the fire department responded to and paid for. Deputy Mayor Michael Lensak inquired how many incidents have taken place to justify this ordinance. Rick Melfi, member and president of the Andover Township Fire Department, said there have been 20 incidents alone in the past year. Melfi said the department has pursued the insurance companies of the parties involved in the incidents for reimbursement but have not received compensation. “I think it’s a good concept but what are the ramifications of defending it in court?” asked committee member Bob Smith. Semrau said a fee schedule will be created for the these cases and if a party does not pay, the case will be heard in municipal court. The public hearing for the ordinance will be on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. In other business The township’s Monday, Dec. 26, committee meeting will be suspended due to the holiday. The township’s annual reorganization meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. Mayor Phil Boyce thanked the public for the opportunity to serve as mayor. “It’s been a great year," he said. "I loved serving as mayor this year." Township employees raised $187 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure of North Jersey. On Fridays, employees who opt to dress casual pay to do so, donating the fee to charities. Since 2003, they have raised $2,639 for charity. Committee member Tom Walsh said the DPW continues to pick up brush six days a week. “It’s unbelievable,” Walsh said of the volume of brush from Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, the recent nor’easter and the rain the township has dealt with recently. Some neighborhoods have taken over four days of clearing and chipping wood, Walsh said. Committee member Gail Phoebus said the Open Space Commission is beginning to work on the tract of land by Lake Iliff. The DEP has approved space for 10 cars to access the area. There are plans for a bird sanctuary and fishing area.