By John Burton
RED BANK — A borough councilman thinks it is time to spend the money for repairs to the borough owned firehouses.
Councilman Arthur V. Murphy III, who serves as the council’s fire and police commissioners, recently asked that his colleagues consider a bond ordinance to do what he said was long needed work to three of the structures of the town’s six fire companies.
The three borough-owned structures are for the Liberty Hose Company, located on White Street, Independent Engine Company, Mechanic Street, and the Relief Engine Company, Drummond Place.
Two of the three—Liberty and Independent—are in need of new roofs, Murphy said at the Sept. 28 council meeting. And the Mechanic Street location could stand to have its windows replaced, and the main door at the Liberty location, too.
The third structure, located on Drummond Place, is in the best shape of the three, Murphy explained this week, as it received some work as part of the agreement with the Community YMCA’s restoration of the connecting 51 Monmouth Street building. But it too may need some additional touch-ups.
Murphy explained this week the cost for the major work for the two locations would probably amount to roughly $56,000.
“You own the property. You have to maintain them,” he said, noting that while the members do do some general maintenance to the site, no substantial work had been done to those two buildings for the better part of 25 years.
Officials are in the process of obtaining three bids on the work and the bond ordinance would hopefully be ready before the end of the year, according to Murphy.
When Pasquale Menna came in as mayor in 2007, there was the beginning of discussions about consolidating some of the six fire companies. And over the years there have some discussions about it, with fire company members even establishing a committee to look at it, Murphy said last week. “They know consolidation will come around sooner or later,” Murphy said of the company members.
However, those discussions haven’t really moved forward thus far, but Murphy said, as that would entail establishing a facility capable of housing a number of trucks and equipment. Such a facility could cost upwards of $2 million to build, he said, and the borough doesn’t have the resources to spend. However, he added, “There’s going to come a point when decisions are going to have to be made.”
And should consolidation eventually move forward, and if it involves any of the borough owned properties, officials might look to sell off that asset, Murphy said, noting it might help if the building is in good shape.