Above: Gottheimer speaks at Interboro Mutual Aid Group’s monthly meeting with local firefighters and first responders.
ALPINE, NJ – This weekend, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined fifteen local fire departments for the Interboro Mutual Aid Group’s monthly meeting to discuss clawing federal dollars back to North Jersey to help first responders and help lower property taxes. Gottheimer highlighted the benefits that mutual aid first responder groups bring to our communities, issues that firefighters face in their daily operations while responding to emergencies, the need for new radios, and improving critical infrastructure needed to enhance communications during an emergency.
“It’s always a top priority of mine to ensure our first responders have all the resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively, especially throughout this pandemic. I’m thrilled that all of the Fifth District’s local fire departments are continuing to come together to share information, training, and improve coordination,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “I want to thank the President of the Association, Jerry Naylis, and newly appointed Superintendent from NJ State Firemen’s Home John Veras for having me and for all our first responders on the frontlines who sacrifice so much every day to protect us all.”
In the Fifth District this year, first responders clawed back $1.8 million in funding from the Assistance for Firefighters Grants (AFG). At the meeting, Gottheimer spoke about the resources that Departments have been able to obtain through the grant, but that more investment is needed.
New Jersey’s Fifth District has clawed 108% more federal tax dollars back from Washington and the Moocher States since 2016. For this past year alone, the federal tax dollars clawed back average out to a savings of $448 for each household in the Fifth District.
Gottheimer’s Return on Investment team has visited all 79 towns in the Fifth District to raise awareness of the availability of federal grant dollars, written 12 Congressional letters of support, convened 12 Mayor Summits to train local leaders on how to apply for grants, hosted 15 grant workshops, sent more than 4,000 letters and scores of emails to local leaders, and held more than 500 meetings with local officials.
The Interboro Mutual Fire Aid System, formed in 1954 is currently composed of 15 member fire departments from municipalities in the northeastern portion of Bergen County. The group’s main purpose is to provide fire suppression assistance to each other during times of need.
The group’s purpose has evolved over the years to include training, dissemination of information concerning new laws and regulations affecting the fire service, participating in programs that support firefighter safety, and shared resources with partner emergency service agencies for the overall betterment of the communities they serve.
Below: Gottheimer with Fifth District first responders.