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Sunday, January 25, 2015

NEWFIELD FIRE COMPANY NO. 1 VS. THE BOROUGH OF NEWFIELD A-0751-13T4


NEWFIELD FIRE COMPANY NO. 1 VS. THE BOROUGH OF
          NEWFIELD
A-0751-13T4
We consider the scope of N.J.S.A. 40A:14-68, which allows a municipality to exercise "supervision and control" over a volunteer fire company designated as its official firefighting organization. Rejecting challenges by the plaintiff fire company, we conclude the statute allows the defendant borough to use an ordinance to set forth the terms and conditions upon which it would engage the volunteer fire company to perform the governmental function of firefighting.
Further, the plain language of this statute reflects the Legislature's intent to assure governmental supervision and control over volunteer fire companies to the extent they are charged with performing public functions funded by public taxpayer resources and the ordinance under review, as excised by the trial judge, does not exceed the designated authority.
Finally, we note the fire company can reject the proposed terms and cease its role as the designated fire organization in the borough. If so, the borough is free to attempt to resolve the disagreements or contract with a neighboring fire company under the required terms.