LAKE COMO, NJ — According to Lake Como Borough Administrator Louise Mekosh, the borough rejected the bids made on two South Belmar Fire Department fire trucks during a September 12 public auction, and will going out to bid again.

A 1994 KME fire truck garnered a high bid of $2,700, while the 1976 Mack fire engine received a $2,200 bid. A 2005 Cushman Hauler was scooped up for $900, a gas-powered sander for $125, plastic piping for $100, an electric fire siren for $200 and nine computer mainframes for $25.

The names of the bidders were not disclosed by Tinton Falls-based USGovBid, which conducted the online public auction. To view the auction’s results, click here.

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The Lake Como Borough Council in February approved the sale of the trucks and other surplus items that were “no longer needed for public use,” including office equipment from the former South Belmar Police Department.

The borough is currently exploring options for the borough-owned land on Main Street, where the firehouse and police station stand at the corner of Redmond Avenue.

In 2018, Lake Como entered into a shared services agreement for fire protection services with Belmar. And in May 2016, Lake Como inked an outsourcing agreement with Belmar for police services — the result of a defeat by voters of a special referendum that would have seen the municipal tax rate climb 22 percent in order to keep its 10-member police department. Under the terms of the 10-year contract, which includes a five-year opt-out provision, Lake Como pays 25 percent of Belmar’s annual police budget, excluding special police officers.

Meanwhile, the South Belmar First Aid Squad (SBFAS) has until October 13 to obtain financing for the purchase of the “borough’s interest” in the squad’s shuttered building at 703 18th Avenue, under a consent judgment issued in June by Superior Court Judge Katie Gummer.

The purchase price is $260,000 for the 27,000-square-foot parcel of vacant land that sits adjacent to the 12,500-square-foot area on which the building and parking lot sit. That parcel owned by the SBFAS is priced at $420,000. While the total residentially zoned property has been appraised at $880,000, the squad's parcel is currently assessed at $493,000 and the borough-owned parcel at $113,600. SBFAS is a private nonprofit organization that has occupied the property since 1945.

If financing is not obtained by SBFAS, the borough has the option of either purchasing the squad's parcel or selling the entire property and taking its share of the proceeds, according to borough officials.

Beset by declining volunteer membership in recent years, the squad has been not be in operation since late 2017, as the Belmar First Aid Squad has taken over all emergency medical services under a shared services agreement with Lake Como.

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