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Mission StatementHopewell Borough Fire District No. 1 is an autonomous entity responsible for providing fire protection and extinguishing fires within the geographic boundaries of the fire district, in general the Borough of Hopewell, Mercer County, New Jersey. The Fire District is funded through a fire tax and governed by a five member Board of Fire Commissioners. Its mission is to protect life, property and the environment from damage due to fire and environmental emergencies in our district, and to assist neighboring communities in their mission to do the same. The Fire District's administrative office is located in the Hopewell Fire Department firehouse in Hopewell, New Jersey.
If you wish to send correspondence, please send it to:
Hopewell Borough Fire District No. 1
Attn: Board of Fire Commissioners
PO Box 141
Hopewell, New Jersey 08525
Board of Fire Commissioners MeetingsPursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Law, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, the Board of Commissioners, Hopewell Borough Fire District No. 1, Mercer County, New Jersey will hold their regular scheduled 2020 monthly meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at the Hopewell Fire Department, 4 Columbia Ave, Hopewell, NJ, 08525. All meetings will commence at 7:00 p.m. A Workshop/Agenda meeting will be held at the call of the Chairperson on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm.
CommissionerSomething about the person
CommissionerAfter graduating HVCHS in 1989 Mark received his Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance with a minor in German at Lehigh University. He Lived in Princeton and started his first retail business before moving to Hopewell Borough in 2006. He has been a commissioner for the last decade.
CommissionerMel Myers About
CommissionerPaul Evans About
CommissionerSchuyler Morehouse About
Founding of the Fire Commissioners
Ben Franklin is quite often considered the First American Fire Chief, but he also was known as an early pioneer of American Fire Insurance, which was already well established overseas in England. Many rumors exist about Fire Departments that would not extinguish fires in places that were not insured or display insurance placards (called firemarks) on their homes. Rumors also surfaced that firefighters worked more quickly on homes that were insured. While most of these tales are fictitious, there is some truth to some myths, as many of the firemen worked for Franklin and other insurance companies. Insurance companies still play a large part in Fire Services since the typical home insurance premiums quite often depend on the fire services and infrastructure a municipality has. The creation of the fire tax was created to offset this cost to meet the requirements of insurance companies and citizen needs around the country.1
From its creation in 1911, until the mid 1980’s, The Hopewell Fire Department depended upon donations from residents and various fund raising activities to finance the volunteer fire department’s activities. On occasion, large donations and grants from individuals, estates and major business enterprises also made it possible for the volunteer fire department to acquire needed fire fighting units. Soliciting needed donations “door to door” was a major time consuming effort requiring up to six months of effort each year.
By the 1980’s these efforts became insufficient to ensure that the long term needs of the volunteer fire department could be met and therefore the voters of Hopewell Borough approved a referendum to establish a municipal “Board of Fire Commissioners”. The Board consists of five elected, unpaid members who must be residents of the Borough and serve three year terms.
Every year, two seats on the Board are up for a public election, which is conducted on the third Saturday of every February pursuant to state law. Every third year, only one seat on the Board is up for election. The Board of Fire Commissioners establishes a proposed fire district budget which is submitted for approval by the voters of Hopewell Borough. Also on the third Saturday of February, every year pursuant to state law, a “temporary budget”, not to exceed fourteen percent of the proposed budget, is allowed under state law until a final budget is approved by the voters. The temporary budget exists because the annual budget for the Fire District is on a calendar year basis, i.e. January through December, and operating funds are needed prior to the February budget vote.
Upon approval of the annual budget, a fire district tax is calculated and included in the quarterly tax bills, which the Borough of Hopewell submits to all property owners. The Borough subsequently makes distribution of the fire district tax collected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in a percentage and on dates as prescribed by state law.
The Hopewell Borough Board of Fire Commissioners have an established an agreement with the Hopewell Township Board of Fire Commissioners whereby the Township Board has agreed to reimburse the Hopewell Board for seventy percent of the Hopewell Board’s annual operational and capital budget. This is because it was determined that seventy percent of the fire and emergency medical calls to which the volunteer Hopewell Fire Department and Emergency Medical Unit responds are within the boundaries of the Township of Hopewell. Accordingly the fire district tax levy paid by the property owners in Hopewell Borough is only thirty percent of the total annual fire district budget.
1. Shea, R. M. (2014, March). AMERICAN FIRE MARKS - A GOOD STORY. Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://firemarkcircle.org/images/files/goodstory.htm