Less Fires, More Pension Costs for Brigantine Fire Department

Brigantine Fire Department
How Much Is Too Much?

How much should we pay for a Brigantine Fire Department that rarely fights a fire? Why send a firetruck to a medical emergency? Click to listen to excerpts from past NPR story.

A big but little understood fire department expense is not salaries, it’s retirements and those healthcare and pension benefits. Brigantine currently has $4.5 million in un-funded pension liability for public employees. That number is growing fast, but few on City Council want to discuss that inconvenient truth.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to way less fires, 40% less than they did 30 years ago.

See original NPR story here

Fires in Brigantine just don’t happen as much anymore.

Sprinklers and new, stricter building techniques make places less likely to burn. Yet fire departments are still set up in the same way: big trucks, over-staffed fire stations, and lots of expensive firefighters. In Brigantine, they work 2 days on….4 days off. A third of that time they are sleeping, yet still getting paid.

That fire engine driving by begs the question that lots of Brigantiners are asking. If everything’s changing for the Brigantine fire department, why are we paying for it in the same way? How much should we pay for government services? It boils down to this. What’s a firefighter worth these days?

People love Brigantine firefighters. They’re heroes. They ride on big red engines, and people cheer. They deserve that honor.

But there’s a limit as to what Brigantine taxpayers can handle for this un-bridled loyalty to the fire-fighters.

As a bargaining tactic, Brigantine Fire Captain’s Platt, Maguire and Councilman Simpson use amped-up fear. They warn….. ‘if you don’t take care of the FD, it’ll take longer to get to you when you have an emergency, and that means people may die’. Most do not like that low-down threat.

Many questions persist. What kind of fire department does Brigantine want and need? How much can Brigantine actually afford to pay retirees? Does Brigantine need to send a firetruck to a medical emergency? What if Brigantine had paramedics in the fire station instead of just firefighters? Do we need the current fire department structure?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

See original NPR story here

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8 thoughts on “Less Fires, More Pension Costs for Brigantine Fire Department”

  1. Who knew? It appears that being a fireman in a small town is the best job to have. A complete analysis
    should be done ,however,I doubt if anything will change.Half the residents are part time,& unable to vote,& the other half are too afraid to say anything…

  2. People in positions of power use unsubstantiated, non-quantifiable and vague fear tactic language to persuade/dissuade public opinion.

    Ex. ‘if you don’t take care of the FD, it’ll take longer to get to you when you have an emergency, and that means people may die’.
    Someone wanting to weigh the decision may say, how much save compared to how longer the wait? Are emergency response time tracked? How many minutes longer? Etc
    These are questions that would and could never be answered.

    You probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning while being simultaneously bitten by a shark than dying because Brigantine emergency response “took longer”.

    1. Accountability Now

      Nothing but constant negative news and it never ends.

      Mayor/City doesn’t know how to issue an Request for Proposal? (Golf Course Scam). Why not put the add in a real newspaper (NY Times or Philadelphia Inquirer), so the City receives more qualified bids? Morgan ran the place last year and didn’t put a dime into…so it failed to make money. Why would they even consider giving the contract to him? Its a no brainer, but not on Fantasy Island…

      Health benefits where the employee does not contribute? Those days are over for everyone in the real world, but not on Fantasy Island.

      Unfunded Pension Liabilities $4.5 million? Where is that coming from ? Time to change the retiree benefits…Large Corporations (GE) change retiree benefits all the time, but because of the ingrained nepotism whereby fathers, sons, and grandsons. all worked for a city department at one point Council won’t even address the issue. Only on Fantasy Island.

      We’re counting the days until the investigation is opened, they dig into the details, and clean house. .

  3. Richard F. Boyle Esq

    And the real estate values continue to be depressed.

    .Only beach community in New Jersey that is still seeing decreased real estate prices. Except of course Atlantic City, whose government will be taken over by the State any day now.

  4. Just take a look at the salaries these firefighters are getting for sitting around. What we need is a very small department with volunteers. I understand they had to call in Atlantic City to help with the last couple of fires, which leads me to believe that they are not very good at firefighting. Having parametics would be a great idea to replace some of the firefighters. Also, 2 days on and 4 days off is ridiculous.

    We should also look at the Police Department – to many cops with way too high salaries. How much crimes is there in Brigantine – I don’t think very much. And, it’s who you know, not what you know that gets you one of these or any other job in Brigantine!

  5. No one seems to care, not the mayor, city council, as well as the public employees. The just screw second home owners. I wish I had never purchased a house in Brigantine. Its like having an anchor tie to your foot. The value keeps dropping and the just keep raising the taxes.

    I’m lucky I can afford to hold it and pass it on. It’s sad to see so many houses in foreclosure and run down. People used their homes as ATMs with no plan of paying the money back.

    We need professional people running Brigantine, not friends and family who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Taxpayer pick up the tab for the stupid decisions as a result of lack of knowledge. Or just doesn’t care. Why should I be surprised at Brigantine, the whole country is going that way. Just remember, Rome fell, so can we. Mayor Guenther, do something right for the taxpayers and not just your childhood friends.

  6. Taxpayer says-Trenton & Gov Christie are ignoring our plight because they are part of the “Old Boys Club”
    Knobb says-I’m all for foundation savers – get rid of the FD. They get paid while sleeping. Do we have that privilege? Get paid while sleeping. And we have AC’s FD to do our work anyway.
    Accountability says: Mad Dog is so stupid he is laughing all the way to the bank with our money. I have like you had to pay thousands for my health care premiums. So should Brigantine employees & they can pay into a 401, no more freebees
    Richard says: we are surrounded by foreclosures in the north end. It’s quiet during the summer, no neighbors looking over the fences.
    M. Jamgochian says: let them all go.
    Dan says: right there with you on being a second homeowner. My children don’t want the house because of the “old boys club” . They would rather go to OCNJ, SIC or Avalon. At least the investment would appreciate. Guenther is the base of the problem.

  7. How many residents of Brigantine have a pension of $70,000 a year or greater? How is it that taxes keep going up, yet service remains the same or goes down? How can individuals take a position for less than two years, and get paid a taxpayer-funded pension for the rest of their lives?

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