HOLMDEL – Residents who voted in the 2021 general election appear to have approved a public question that asked if they wanted to increase benefits to local volunteer first responders in a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP).
The election was conducted with vote by mail ballots; with early in-person voting on nine days in October; and with in-person voting on Nov. 2.
According to election results posted online by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, 4,001 residents voted “yes” on the question and 1,867 residents voted “no” on the question. The results will remain unofficial until they have been certified by the county.
Regarding the result of the vote on the question, Mayor Greg Buontempo said, “I have previously said that shortly after moving to Holmdel many years ago, I realized this community has an incredibly dedicated band of emergency service workers and first responders, made up of both sworn officers and volunteers.
“The dedication and commitment of our volunteers ensures that Holmdel continues to be the safe community we are proud to call home. I am so pleased the passage of this referendum will now enable us to better reward these honorable men and women,” the mayor said.
During the summer, the Township Committee adopted an ordinance which placed the LOSAP 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 sought 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 asked 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?”
If the result of the vote on the public question is certified, Holmdel’s ordinances will be revised to account for the increase in the LOSAP payments.