Franklin Lakes October 21, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 5 Becton Dickinson donation considered operating expense by Frank J. McMahon A $6,000 donation by the Becton Dickinson Company in 2008 will remain in the Borough of Franklin Lakes 2009 budget, where it was designated to cover the operating expenses of the Franklin Lakes Ambulance Corps and the Franklin Lakes Fire Department Inc., a civic and social entity that handles fundraising for the volunteer firefighters. BD has made donations to the two volunteer organizations over the past few years, but the donations have previously been made to the borough and passed on to the individual organizations, according to James Webb, the president of the Franklin Lakes Volunteer Fire Department. Webb attended a recent council meeting and told the governing body that BD made a $6,000 donation in November 2008 for the general operations of the ambulance corps and the volunteer fire department, but the money was never distributed and he believes that donation was BD’s response to their appeal for funds. Mayor Maura DeNicola advised Webb that she asked BD where the donation was supposed to go, and was told that BD did not realize their donations were previously redirected from the municipality to some other organizations, and they advised that the decision on how the money was to be used is up to the council. Councilman Steve Marcus then read from a letter he received from the director of social investing at BD, which he said specifically states that $3,000 of the $6,000 donation was to be given to the ambulance corps and the fire department for general operating support. Webb said he has a similar letter that came with the 2007 donation that states the donation was to be in support of the fire department and ambulance corps, and the money was passed on to them at that time. Webb questioned why BD would pay its real estate taxes, which the company is now appealing, and then make a donation to augment the taxes they pay. He said he believed the money was intended to be passed on to the volunteer organizations, but that BD has left that decision in the hands of the mayor and council. He noted that his company is down $8,000 in fundraising this year, and needs the money that was donated by BD. Asked how the money is used by the volunteer fire department, Webb advised that it is used to buy uniforms and the fire chief’s and assistant fire chief’s cars, which are used to make fire calls. The department owns the Fireman’s Field on Franklin Avenue, and runs three social events each year, including the Clambake in the summer, the Old Timers Dinner in October, and the Installation Dinner in February. Webb said the funds pay for the food in the firehouse kitchens during the Monday night drills. He added that the money has been used to renovate the South Side firehouse on Franklin Lake Road and the Bender Court headquarters. It was also used to maintain the 1926 Seagrave fire truck that the fire department owns, and to upgrade various types of equipment in the firehouses. He also pointed out that the funds were used this year to augment the cost of the volunteers attending the fire fighters’ convention in September because the borough did not cover that expense this year. Marcus emphasized that the mayor and council respect the efforts of the fire department, and all volunteer organizations, but the taxpayers of the borough are down about $1 million this year and it is a difficult time to ask taxpayers for this money. Franklin Lakes Chief Financial Officer William Pike advised that the 2008 money has already been “closed out,” so the only money in question is the potential 2009 BD donation. He explained if the money were turned over to the two organizations now, there would be $3,000 less in the budget for each of the volunteer organizations and Marcus said the taxpayers would have to make up that difference. DeNicola suggested the council’s Public Safety Committee continue the discussion with the fire department so there will be an understanding of the process for handling the BD donations in the future and to make a recommendation to the council. “I know that is not the answer you wanted to hear,” she told Webb, “but times are tight for everybody.” Webb said after the meeting that he looks forward to working with the council so the fire department can receive the BD donation in the future. ����������� ��������������������������������� ��������������������������������������� ���������������� � �� � ��� ��� ���������������������������������� ������������������ �� ��������������������������� ����������������������� ����������������������� ���������������������� ������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������� ���������������������� ����������