June 2, 2013 (Kearny, NJ) Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos and the members of the Kearny Council took an unprecedented step formally calling out the Mayor of Harrison Raymond McDonough, the Harrison Council and the State of New Jersey Department of Community Services for its reliance on neighboring towns including Kearny in providing fire protection to its residents. In a resolution passed by the Kearny Council, the Town of Kearny reduced the number of Kearny fire companies that will respond to a Harrison Fire Departments request for mutual aid from three companies to two. The Kearny Council threatened to cut their Mutual Fire Aid to one engine next month unless Harrison increases the size of its fire department. Photograph courtesy of Jersey Journal/NJ.com
Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos was very vocal in statements to the press. In a Jersey Journal article by Rose Duger, Mayor Santos is quoted as saying, “This direct reliance on Kearny and Jersey City personnel to meet Harrison’s safety requirements, in effect, is shifting the cost of the burden onto Jersey City and Kearny. We have a very tight budget. For the state to take credit for budget savings while shifting the cost to Kearny and Jersey City is not real savings. It’s passing the buck.”
Kearny may not be alone in its reduction of fire mutual aid. Jersey City's Council may also be contemplating their own reduction. Jersey City Fire Director Armando Roman is also proposing to reduce aid to Harrison.
Fire Director Armando Roman stated that, “At the time of the last mutual aid agreement in 2003, Harrison had sufficient manpower, and would call Jersey City sparingly. Today, we are being called for practically every fire, and this cannot continue without the compromise from our citizens, taxpayers, and a long-term financial obligation for our city.”
Photograph courtesy of Jersey Journal/NJ.com