Brick Township no longer has a volunteer EMS squad, with the unpaid members having been supplanted over the last decade by professional, paid EMTs working under the police department. But the buildings that belonged to the now-defunct squad remain. Before it went away completely, several of Brick’s EMS companies merged under one squad.
In one case, the former Herbertsville EMS building on Herbertsville Road was sold privately. But the former Brick Volunteer EMS building off Jordan Road and Aurora Drive is still in the hands of the legal entity that was once the active squad. It was given to the squad for $1 in the 1970s, but now the township wants it back. Earlier this year, Brick began levying property taxes on the building, and the remaining members of the former squad now rent out the facility to those hosting parties and banquets, largely to cover the tax bill.
Brick officials, however, argue that the building should revert back to township control since the squad is no longer operating. The row has not yet led to litigation, however it is unclear the path that the case may take.
“Because it’s not longer used for volunteer purposes, they were becoming a commercial landlord and the township imposes property taxes on the building,” said Township Attorney Kevin Starkey, who also said this week that his office is in discussions with the remaining squad members to bring the matter to a resolution.
“Whenever the township gives away property like that, there is a clause which says if it is no longer used for volunteer purposes, it reverts back to the township,” said Starkey. “We have made a request to have that revert back to the township.”
The legal entity which controls the remnants of the squad still holds title to the building. Councilman Jim Fozman brought up the issue at a council meeting this week, asking Starkey and Mayor John Ducey what they envision doing with the building if the township reacquires it. Fozman said he has heard rumors that the township may move its senior center there from the VFW building on Adamston Road.
Starkey said the township has yet to decide what it would do with the property, but said one possibility is to use it within the Brick Police EMS squad.
“I don’t think there are any final decisions made because we don’t own the property,” Starkey said.
One thing is for sure, however: the township wants the building back.
“I don’t think that it’s fair for them to own it for commercial purposes,” said Starkey.
The end of volunteer EMS services in Brick has been controversial. After multiple squads in town merged into Brick Volunteer EMS near the beginning of the decade, its was still responding to a minority of calls. But under circumstances which have never been clear, the squad eventually ceased its operations, leaving the paid EMS squad as the only basic life support service in town, save the Dover-Brick Beach volunteer squad which serves sections of the barrier island such as Normandy Beach in both the Brick and Toms River portions.
Editor’s Note: This story originally showed a photo of a fire company building rather than the EMS building in question. It has since been updated.