HOLMDEL – When Holmdel residents go to the polls on Nov. 2, they will be asked via a public question if they want to increase benefits to local volunteer first responders in a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP).
The Township Committee has adopted an ordinance which will place that question on the Election Day ballot. The ordinance was adopted during a meeting on Aug. 10 by Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Cathy Weber, Committeeman Prakash Santhana, Committeeman Tom Critelli and Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli.
According to the ordinance, Holmdel maintains an Emergency Services Volunteer Length of Service Award Program Act (LOSAP) which was initially authorized by voters in 2002. The program rewards volunteer members of the Holmdel Fire Department and First Aid Squad “for their loyal, diligent and devoted services to the residents of Holmdel.”
LOSAP provides fixed annual contributions into a tax deferred income account for qualifying volunteer first responders and currently provides an annual contribution of $1,150 per person. Any modification to LOSAP must first be approved by public question, according to the ordinance.
At this time, the Township Committee is seeking to amend the LOSAP ordinance to increase the annual contribution to the current maximum allowable by law for Holmdel’s program and to authorize future cost of living adjustments without the need for voter approval.
The public question that will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot will ask voters: “Should Holmdel increase the benefits under the Emergency Services Volunteer Length of Service Award Program Act from the currently authorized amount of $1,150 per volunteer to the current maximum allowable by law for Holmdel’s program, $1,580 per volunteer, and further authorize automatic cost of living adjustments in future years?”
An explanatory statement on the ballot will inform those who are about to answer the public question that in 2002, Holmdel voters approved a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) which rewards volunteer first responders from the Holmdel Fire Department and First Aid Squad with fixed annual contributions into a tax deferred income account.
The explanatory statement will further inform voters that “If approved, this public question would authorize an increase in the benefit from $1,150 per volunteer to the maximum benefit allowable by law for Holmdel’s program, $1,580 per volunteer, as well as automatic cost of living adjustments to the benefit amount in future years without the need for voter approval.”
If the public question is approved by voters, Holmdel’s ordinances will be revised to account for the increase in the LOSAP payments.