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Reminder: Referendum Sept. 10 for LOSAP

Residents of the Village of Mineola are reminded that a referendum will be held on Thursday, Sept. 10 on whether to change the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) for members of the Mineola Fire Department.

The referendum asks, “Shall the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) for the Mineola Volunteer Fire Department be amended so as to permit a firefighter to earn service credits subsequent to reaching entitlement age under the plan and/or subsequent to an election of benefits under the plan?”

The LOSAP program is a program instituted to assist in recruiting and retaining members of the fire department. The programs gives firefighters a monetary award based on their length of services.

Under the current program, which was approved by voters on December 13, 1990, Mineola firefighters can accumulate credit for their length of service until the age of 60 regardless of whether they serve in the department past the age of 60. Under the current program, the award amounts to $20 per month for each year of credited serves up to a maximum of 40 years. The maximum benefit available to a firefighter with 40 years of service at age 60 was $800 per month.

If the referendum passes, there will be no age limit for firefighter to collect credits, meaning they can collect credit toward the award past the age of 60, although the firefighters would still be subject to an award for a maximum of 40 years. The referendum is being put forth because there are a number of firefighters in the Mineola Fire Department who are past the age of 60, but continue to serve the community.

However, if the referendum fails, the current LOSAP program would be terminated and only credit earned up until the date of the referendum will be considered valid and no new credit will be able to be earned.

Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins and the Board of Trustees are urging the community to vote in favor of the referendum since they believe the dedicated service of firefighters over the age of 60 should be recognized and rewarded.

If the referendum is approved by voters, it is expected to cost the average household, with an annual village tax of $1,600, less than $10 per year.

Voting will take place at the Mineola Village Hall Community Center, located at 155 Washington Avenue, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is open to all registered voters in the Village of Mineola.