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Departments Struggle To Recruit Volunteer Firefighters In Bergen County

FILE -- Firefighters battle a brush fire in Carlstadt, N.J., in April 2012. (Credit: Getty Images)

FILE — Firefighters battle a brush fire in Carlstadt, N.J., in April 2012. (Credit: Getty Images)

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork)Volunteer fire departments in Bergen County and beyond are struggling to recruit firefighters, forcing many municipalities to shuffle their budgets so that they can pay firefighters.

“Economic times, pressure on families and things like that — makes it harder and harder to get volunteers,” Bergen County Freeholder and former Paramus Mayor Jim Tedesco, who’s also a volunteer fireman, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

A lot of the fire departments in the 70 boroughs and towns in Bergen County use volunteers.

With firefighters in the area who are paid earn around $75,000 a year on average, local governments are having to tap into property taxes or “we’re going to have to reduce services in other areas in order to absorb those costs,” said William Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

“That is a dilemma,” Dressel said.

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