Holmdel voters will soon have a unique opportunity to support the township’s volunteer first responders. The Nov. 2 election ballot will include a public question asking if Holmdel should increase the benefits paid into an incentive program called the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP). This is part of a state effort designed to encourage volunteer participation.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of Fire & Rescue Company No.2, but I am writing this letter as a resident and private individual.
Surprisingly, not all residents realize the town’s emergency services, both first aid and fire, depend on non-paid volunteers. LOSAP rewards these individuals based on their number of call responses, hours spent in training and meeting attendance.
If the public question is approved in November, the township’s annual contributions to LOSAP will change to the maximum presently allowed by the state.
Originally authorized by voters in 2002, this benefit was set at $1,150 per volunteer. The proposed change will bring the benefit to $1,580.
The estimated annual cost of the increase will be $25,820 for the township. Holmdel’s total annual cost for the program will be about $69,520 for its 44 volunteers. Automatic cost of living adjustments will be included. Consider these amounts vs. the potential cost of salaried emergency responders.
The change has already been unanimously approved by the Holmdel Township Committee. Voters will now be asked to endorse it. Please vote “yes” to the public question authorizing this change. Your Holmdel volunteers will thank you.