Voters on Saturday voted in a special election to build a $14,000,000 firehouse in Downtown Toms River. The effort was touted by Toms River Fire District 1 Administrator, Brian Kubiel, who also sits on the Toms River Township Council.
The fire district lobbied residents for the past few months to support the new three story building, but the voters rejected the plan. The district said the existing buildings were in need of repair and offered logistical problems for the fire companies that use them.
The defeat could also give insight into voter direction for the upcoming June 6th Republican primary election for the hotly contested first ward.
The vote was seen as a victory for Republican council challenger Justin Lamb who has been fighting town hall in recent months to reduce spending. Lamb hopes that the defeat carries into a win for his anti-establishment campaign to win over township Republicans.
“The voters of Ward 1 spoke and they spoke loudly, thank you for the turnout,” Lamb said tonight. “I need you all one more time on June 6th. I will work every hour of everyday to make sure we are safe and sound.”
Lamb is facing off against incumbent Maria Maruca who is seeking re-election.
In the past week, Maruca’s campaign team went on the offensive against Lamb in a series of inflammatory attacks against the political newcomer.
The referendum for the new firehouse was defeated 535 votes to 306.
For now, Fire Company No. 1 will continue to use the 120 old Robbins Street station and Fire Company 2 will continue to operate out of the 90 year old Water Street station instead of jointly operating out of the proposed 32,965 square foot facility.