The Small Town Volunteer Fire Department

The Small Town Volunteer Fire Department:

Unincorporated population centers in a NJ county were often assigned to the nearest township. For Newfield that was Franklin Township, which still exists today. By 1924, the residents of Newfield were very unhappy with the services being provided them through Franklin Township in exchange for local real estate taxes so they petitioned to become a NJ Borough with an elected mayor and six member council, and the state government granted that request.

The residents of Newfield, which had its own bank, school, fire company, grocery stores, carnegie library, etc, felt least government was best. I smile and think of them as Libertarians long before such a movement existed. This was, of course, a bargain the town was making with itself to provide public services with minimal taxes through promotion of volunteerism.

This attitude and tradition has worked well. The School Board, the Ambulance Corps, the Cemetery Board, the Library Board, and the fire company are all staffed with unpaid volunteers. For the essential services of EMS and fire-fighting, these unpaid volunteers also undergo many hours of training to remain certified. In consequence, those essential service organizations are backups for other EMS and fire-fighting services in surrounding towns.

[Amazingly easy to screw things up…]


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