HOLMDEL – Residents participating in the 2021 general election are being 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 2021 general election is being held with vote-by-mail ballots, with early in-person voting later this month and with in-person voting on Election Day, Nov. 2.
During the summer, the Township Committee adopted an ordinance which placed that question on the Election Day ballot.
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.
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 on the ballot asks 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 informs 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 further informs 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 a simple majority voters, Holmdel’s ordinances will be revised to account for the increase in the LOSAP payments.