[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Waterford 2-14-2018 by Ord. No. 2018-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Waterford Township Wildfire Safety Council is hereby established.
The purpose of the Wildfire Safety Council (WSC) is to coordinate wildfire prevention efforts within the Township. To coordinate these efforts, the WSC may, with municipal approval, seek grant funding, propose and conduct outreach efforts, and develop educational opportunities to inform residents what they can do personally to reduce their wildfire risks. The WSC may act as the point of contact for the New Jersey Forestry Services, Forest Fire Service and their many outreach and educational efforts, including but not limited to Firewise Communities, Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP), and Ready Set Go, for the purpose of reducing the risk of wildfire for all residents. The WSC may seek technical assistance from state and federal agencies and arrange and conduct training exercises for residents and municipal staff. The WSC's purpose is to increase the wildfire preparedness and planning capacity in the Township.
The WSC shall consist of a minimum of five members appointed by the Mayor, with membership as follows: the OEM Coordinator, the local Fire Chief(s) [or representative of the local fire company(s)], representatives from businesses or companies with an interest in wildfire, safety, (insurance and utility companies), as well as interested residents. The members shall serve without compensation unless otherwise provided. The Mayor shall designate one of the members to serve as Chairman and presiding officer of the Council. The terms of office of the first Councilmembers shall be for one, two, or three years, to be designated by the Mayor in making his/her appointments, and their successors shall be appointed for terms of three years and until the appointment and qualification of their successors. The first members of the Council shall be appointed for the following terms:
Class A member (member for the one-year term expiring December 31, 2018): the Waterford Township Fire Chief or designee.
Class B member (one member for the two-year term expiring December 31, 2019): OEM Coordinator or Deputy.
Three to five members for the three-year term expiring December 31, 2020: interested members from the local community, which can include, but not be limited to, local Planner, Construction Code Official, residents in fire-prone area, insurance company representatives, utility company representatives, land trusts, large landowners.
One member from the Township Committee to serve as a liaison in an ex officio, nonvoting position.
External advisors from the New Jersey State Forestry Services, New Jersey Forest Fire Service, etc., as needed in ex officio, nonvoting position(s).
The Mayor, on notice to the Township Committee, may remove any member of the Council for cause, on written charges served upon the member. The member shall be entitled to a hearing within 30 days before the Township Committee and has the right to representation by legal counsel. The member must advise, in writing, to the Township Clerk of request for a hearing within three days after receipt of charges.
A vacancy on the Council occurring otherwise than expiration of a term shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as an original appointment.
The WSC is hereby established for the protection of municipal residents by increasing the capacity of education, training and prevention efforts. The WSC may seek grant funds in accordance with municipal policies, coordinate efforts to increase outreach, provide education and training and act as a link to the local fire companies for evacuation and training efforts. The WSC may conduct studies, training and outreach, and seek technical and financial assistance for wildfire risk reduction. The WSC may coordinate local planning efforts to ensure fuel breaks may be constructed in new developments and with the Construction Code Official to ensure that appropriate fire-retardant building materials are used when practical and applicable in fire-prone areas.
On written notice to the Mayor and Township Committee, the WSC may form subcommittees of volunteers or enlist advisors to increase the Council's ability to address specific wildfire needs as they are identified.
The WSC shall conduct all meetings pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) and record minutes to reflect the business conducted during the meetings. The WSC shall meet quarterly or more frequently as needed to address the specific needs of the municipality. The WSC shall submit an annual report to the Mayor and is encouraged to also submit a report to the State Forest Firewarden at the New Jersey Forestry Services, Forest Fire Service, to provide an accounting of the official duties performed and tasks completed by the Council during the preceding year. The report is to be submitted by February 1 of each calendar year.
The WSC may seek, accept and spend grant or donated funds for projects submitted to address the wildfire needs of the Township subject to required municipal auditing practices as established by the Waterford Township Chief Financial Officer. Any member responsible for managing and spending funds shall be bonded by the Township.