Residents to vote on LOSAP

LITTLE SILVER — Voters will be asked in the Nov. 4 election if they support the establishment of a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) for volunteer firefighters and first aid squad members.

The Borough Council on Tuesday night approved an ordinance creating such a program, provided the voters lend their endorsement. The ordinance calls for an annual contribution by the borough of $1,150 for each eligible volunteer, the maximum allowed by state law. Based on 70 members, the total cost per year would be $80,500.

Volunteers must amass a total of 50 points each year to qualify for the award.

Municipalities around the state adopting LOSAP programs are doing so in an effort to retain and recruit volunteers for their fire departments and first aid squads. If they lose too many recruits, they will have to turn to paid departments.

Councilman Donald S. Galante, who oversees the fire department and first aid squad, said before the vote that LOSAP proposals have become standardized throughout the state. He thanked the committee of volunteers from the two agencies who had helped the borough draft its version. No one from the audience spoke at the public hearing on the measure.

The ordinance was passed 6-0.

At its previous meeting, the council passed a resolution asking the county election clerk to put the question on the ballot for Nov. 4. That was done to make sure the borough met the deadline for placing it before the voters.

The ordinance provides that the amount of money appropriated annually for a LOSAP program shall be included in the borough’s budget as a separate line item.

The ordinance notes that the maximum annual contribution may be increased without a public hearing or public question put on the ballot provided the increase does not exceed the number calculated by multiplying the original contribution approved by the voters by the consumer price index factor, as set forth by the state law authorizing the establishment of LOSAP programs.

— Sherry Conohan