23 September 1983
Borough to change residency rules
by Martha T. Moore
Longtime fire company members can remain full-fledged firemen regardless of where they live, the Princeton Borough Council decided Tuesday.
At the urging of the fire companies’ board of engineers, the council voted to introduce an ordinance to change the rules and regulations of Princeton’s three volunteer fire companies to exempt from residency requirements all firemen who were company members before June 1, 1982.
According to regulations, firemen must live within six miles of the Princeton Medical Center to be company members. Those living between six and 12 miles away can be only auxiliary members, and those living beyond 12 miles arc ineligible for membership.
THE RULES HAD affected members who joined before June 1982. as firemen moving out of the six-mile limit would have had to drop to auxiliary status or be dropped from the rolls entirely if they moved more than
12 miles away.
Two firemen would have been hurt by the new rule, said borough clerk Penelope S. Carter, citing a 36-year member who moved outside the 12-mile limit and a member whose change in status would have denied him state fireman’s benefits four months before he became eligible.
Longtime members who moved too far away to fight fires are usually made honorary members, firefighters told the council.
The residency requirement penalized younger members who grew up in Princeton but can no longer afford to live here, said Mark Freda of Princeton Hook and Ladder.
“THEY CAN’T afford to pay taxes and buy a house in Princeton.”
Keeping those members in the department is important, he added. Although firemen may live in West Windsor or Plainsboro, their response time is not affected, Mr. Freda said. Many work in Princeton during the day, he added. The rules also require firemen to be available for firefighting during their working hours.