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Sunday, April 21, 2024


Fire District Elections: All Incumbents, Budgets Get Approval

Fire District Elections: All Incumbents, Budgets Get Approval

By Vince Conti

Fire Truck Stock Image

CORRECTION: The below report of the Dennis Township Fire District #1 election results incorrectly stated that up to $500,000 had been approved for new radios. The voters actually approved up to $100,000 for new radios. 

Cape May County’s fire district elections Feb. 17 were true to form: All proposed budgets were approved, as were all capital expenditure requests, and all commissioner candidates seeking reelection retained their seats.

Only one of the 14 districts had a ballot with multiple candidates seeking the same seat on a commission. In Middle Township Fire District #2, sitting Commissioner Jennifer Sill, who had been appointed to her seat to fill a vacancy, won a term in her own right, besting former Mayor Michael Voll and Kirby Stiltner Jr.

In all, voters approved a combined $8.8 million in taxes to support 2024 budgets. In five of the 14 districts voters approved ballot questions concerning capital purchases.

The final count of ballots cast is not yet available.

Dennis Township

Fire District #1 incumbents Jesse Gery and Donald Tozer won reelection. A tax levy of $456,000 was approved, as was up to $100,000 for 700 MHZ radios.

Fire District #2 incumbent Robert McClure returned to the commission, a $374,697 tax levy approved and authorization given for up to $800,000 for fire apparatus to be added to the 2025 capital plan.

Fire District #3 voters reelected incumbents Tami Kera and Joshua Pantelione for full terms and newcomer Samatha King to an unexpired term on the commission. The voters approved a tax levy of $199,260.

Lower Township

Fire District #1 had incumbents Dale Gentek and Linda Brannon win reelection and a tax levy of $611,200 approved.

Fire District #2 also saw two incumbents win reelection, with George A. Barger Jr. and Lewis H. Conley Jr. returned to the commission. Voters accepted a $1,056,685 tax levy.

Fire District #3 sent incumbents Gary Douglass Sr. and Dennis Robertson Sr. back to the commission for new terms and gave approval to a $879,641 tax levy.

Middle Township

Fire District #1 had incumbent Keith Arenberg and newcomer Craig Mericle win commission seats. The tax levy approved was for $1,471,006.

Fire District #2 had three candidates battling for one commission seat, with Jennifer Sill returned to the post to which she had been appointed. The tax levy approved was for $812, 315. In a separate question, voters authorized spending up to $1.7 million for a new fire truck.

Fire District #3 saw incumbents Paul Fritsch and Bill Mulligan reelected. The tax levy approved was for $574,875.

Fire District #4 also had two incumbents reelected, Thomas Campbell and Robert Goodheart. A tax levy of $284,483 was approved.

Upper Township

Fire District #1 had one open commission seat, to which Donna Diefenderfer was reelected. The voters gave an OK to a tax levy of $107,800.

Fire District #2 saw two incumbent commissioners, W. Scott Mauger and William J. Wentz, reelected. The voters approved a tax levy of $544,300.

Fire District #3 had two incumbents returned to the commission, Kurt Austin and Sean Whelan. The voters gave approval for a tax levy of $763,500. The ballot contained two additional capital spending questions that passed, $1,250,000 for a fire apparatus with accessories and $77,000 for self-contained breathing apparatus. Both expenditures will be added to the 2025 capital plan.

Fire District #4 saw two incumbents, Rich Stevens and Charles Webb, returned to the commission along with approval of a tax levy of $624,506.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at


Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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