Volunteer firefighters and ambulance corps members could be in line for a property tax break under legislation approved earlier this year by state lawmakers.
The measure would allow local governments in New York to provide a tax credit of up to 10% of the assessed value for volunteers who have worked for a fire department or ambulance service for at least two years.
The bill, approved unanimously earlier this year in Albany, is heading to Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk for her consideration.
“Volunteer first responders have served Rockland for more than a century and a half, and we are going to do absolutely everything we can to support them," said Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, who sponsored the measure with Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski.
Firefighters are also backing the measure as a way of helping to recruit new members to volunteer organizations. Membership growth has been a struggle for many volunteer fire and EMS organizations in the state in recent years, and lawmakers have sought ways to boost their growth through stronger benefits and incentives.
“This legislation will facilitate the opportunity for all eligible New York State volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMS providers to work with their local governments to pursue real property tax relief for the men and women who have committed to answering their neighbors’ calls for help in an emergency,” said Firefighters Association of the State of New York's Michael Krummenacker. “We believe the enactment of this legislation will add another tool for our members to use when recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters and EMS providers.”