Washington Township Revamps EMT Support and Examines Budget

In an effort to bolster the support for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and address growing concerns over volunteer retention, the Washington Township Council voted to revise the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP).

The council’s decision to amend LOSAP comes in response to the challenges facing local EMTs, including the rigorous state regulations for certification and the extensive training hours required. These factors have contributed to a decline in volunteer numbers, prompting the council to reevaluate the points system for the program. The amendments, which aim to increase participation and compliance, involve adjustments to award points for various activities such as training and response to calls. The council expects the revised ordinance to be officially adopted at the subsequent meeting.

In addition to the LOSAP debate, the council addressed a proposed ordinance establishing inspection requirements for lead-based paint in rental units. There was also a unanimous decision to adopt an ordinance regulating privately owned salt storage, highlighting environmental considerations in local governance.

A significant portion of the meeting was allocated to discussing the fire department’s budget, with the council reviewing each line item. Topics ranged from training expenses, including tentative US Coast Guard and ladder operations classes, to uniform and safety equipment costs. The fire department’s rationale for increased requests, such as the need to replace outdated water gear and the inspection of kitchen hood systems, was thoroughly examined.

Another focal point was the consideration of various maintenance and operational expenses for the fire department. This included discussions on the clothing allowance, preventive maintenance for trucks, and testing budgets for fire hoses, pumps, and ladders. The turnout gear budget was also a topic of conversation, with the council acknowledging the necessity to replace gear on a ten-year cycle and accommodate rising costs. The discussion extended to the fire department’s communication needs, with a proposal to increase the budget for radio expenses to ensure a proactive replacement schedule for pagers and other equipment.

The council engaged in a critical analysis of the fire department’s budget, approving a request for $5,000 for equipment purchases and addressing concerns over the previous year’s budget overages. The members were informed about the reasons for the overages, including unpaid bills for hood inspections and the need to maintain the building’s elevator and generator.

Moreover, the council grappled with financial matters such as tax rates and the approach to revaluation and reassessment. A debate emerged over the benefits of a five-year versus a six-year reassessment cycle, with considerations of cost implications and potential savings for residents. The disparity in school taxes between Washington and neighboring Westwood was also brought up, though no clear resolution was reached.

The council opposed assembly and senate bills proposing changes to the Fair Housing Act, questioning the need to pass a resolution after the legislation had already been enacted.

Lastly, the council scheduled discussions on the police, Department of Public Works (DPW), and salaries. A suggestion to split these discussions across different dates highlighted the complexity and volume of the budget items under consideration.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Peter Calamari
City Council Officials:
Michael Desena, Steven Cascio, Tom Sears, Michael Ullman, Daisy Velez, KEN POLLER (Twp. Attorney), MARK DICARLO (Twp. Administrator), GLEN BECKMEYER (Twp. Engineer), SUE WITKOWSKI (Twp. Clerk)

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