Bedminster Township is providing each of its six police officers a $10,000 bonus as its first fruit from the federal government’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which includes funding for municipalities that was not included in previous Covid-related federal relief.
The township has already received a payment of $378,000 from the act, and is to receive that amount again next year, with a 2023 deadline for spending all of it.
The grant and bonus intention were announced at the July 14 public board of supervisors meeting, where supervisors also approved a new, collectively-bargained five-year contract for the officers, which calls for a 3% salary increase each year. The bonus, which was discussed during negotiations, is to be officially acted upon separately at the next supervisors’ meeting on Aug. 11. The previous police officer contract, which expires at the end of this year, was only for three years.
In announcing the bonus, Township Manager Rich Schilling noted the group’s exemplary efforts throughout the Covid crisis, including maintaining all of their duties while following strict protocols from their chief, Matt Phelan.
“They performed very well on the front lines, while staying safe themselves, including staying out of the station for two weeks if they traveled out of state,” Schilling said. Regarding the new contract, he added “they are a great group of guys, who know we are a small township, and helped us to minimize our expenses going forward.”
After the meeting, he added the township was “looking long-term, very optimistic about the future, with a young group working under great leadership, toward a continued excellent working relationship.”