By Sara Martino
Gloucester City News
“Our purpose of asking you to come here to the meeting is two-fold” said Mayor John Soubasi, addressing Brooklawn Fire Department and Emergency Management Services (EMS) members during the Council meeting.
“One reason is so that members may hear directly from us. Also, by meeting face to face, we feel is the best way to dispel rumors,” Soubasis said.
“I’d like to make it clear that for the last 12 years we have not micro-managed any groups. We know that the EMS squad always needed a home,” he said in answer to rumors that a building slated for that purpose has not been completed.
“In dealing with (former) Assemblyman Joe Roberts, discretionary funds became available for use in erecting a building for the fire department and the EMS. Plans were made for the building using the $200,000 funding that was received,” Soubasis said.
Some complaints that were circling the borough included the fact that the department had a building “without doors.”
“Right now, the property has been graded, footings and foundations were poured and the shell is up. It is still unfinished and more funds will become available next year to finish,” Soubasis said.
“The heating system must be completed. A building exists and once it is finished, the groups can rent out space for certain events. There is a building, lights and doors. To finish the project, there must be a combined effort,” the mayor said.
“When funding becomes available, it must be used for a specific project, such as upgrading the playground area. We cannot use those funds for other projects such as the building we are discussing now,” he said.
“I want to get the word out. There will be no sale of the building and we are not merging with other towns. The groups have to get along. It is not a good situation right now regarding the morale in the departments,” Soubasis said.
“We are looking to get by these hard economic times. There are no personal agendas in the governing body. Councilman (Jerry) Granstrom is head of the emergency services council committee and will come to your meetings for further discussions on the building,” he said.
The mayor opened the meeting for public comment on the matter.
Members of the Fire Department and the EMS squad did not comment.
“We will accomplish and complete the building,” Granstrom said. “We will try to get some heat in now and correct some plumbing problems. Groups will then be able to hold fund-raisers to help with the project. We are going to work it out.”
“By December 31 of this year, some issues will be resolved,” Soubasis said.
Councilwoman Theresa Branella said the Brooklawn Tree Lighting will take place at 6 p.m. on December 4 and carriage rides will start at 6:30 pm.
Santa Claus and the Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary will be there to help with the festivities, she said.