August 4, 2015
By Steve Novak
Pohatcong Township is considering an ordinance that would exempt emergency service volunteers from paying costs normally attached to applications like marriage licenses or dog licenses.
It’s a way to show support for their service, the mayor said.
“Our emergency volunteers provide Pohatcong Township with first-class services,” James Kern III said in a news release. “These individuals put others above themselves every day and waiving some fees is the least we can do.”
The measure was introduced by council July 21 and will be up for adoption at council’s Aug. 18 meeting.
The ordinance says it serves as “acknowledgment of the countless, uncompensated hours township residents devote to volunteer fire and rescue squads.”
“You drive around town, you always see the ‘Volunteers needed’ signs,” Kern told lehighvalleylive.com, hoping the incentive could help recruitment efforts.
“We’re trying as best we can to be helpful to those trying to volunteer,” he said.
Under the ordinance, emergency volunteers who serve the township would be exempt from paying fees for licenses for dogs, garage sales, businesses, peddling and marriage, as well as vital records fees. The measure does not apply to escrow fees and is capped at $300 per permit and $500 per year.
Huntington Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Leo “Pete” Pursel Jr. credited the council for supporting the volunteers and said “every little bit helps” when it comes to recruiting.
“It may seem like a small perk,” he said, “but it means a lot to the guys.”
The township is exploring the idea of a similar benefit for military veterans as well, the mayor said.