By PETE WALTON
By an overwhelming margin, Bradley Beach voters have approved length of service awards for volunteer emergency personnel.
According to preliminary returns issued by Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon, more than 75 percent of voters in this week’s general election were in favor of the idea. The early vote total was 1003 to 325.
The initial results include early votes and some mail-in ballots received by election night. Late mail-in ballots and provisional ballots have not been counted yet.
Mail-in ballots can be received by the Monmouth County Board of Elections up to six days after the polls close, provided the ballot is postmarked by election day.
Councilman Randy Bonnell proposed in October of 2019 that the Borough Council consider implementing a Length of Service Award Program, or LOSAP, as is offered to volunteer first responders in nearby towns.
Bonnell noted at the time that the program could boost volunteerism, which has decreased across the state by 70 percent since the 1990s.
State law did not permit the matter to be put to voters until this year.
The council voted unanimously in June of this year to put the question on the general election ballot.
The program sets up modest awards based on the length of service to those who have donated their time to help protect the community.
Officials expect the program to help recruit and retain volunteers for the borough fire and first aid departments.
Initial funding would be $17,250, and each fully eligible member would be paid $1,150.