At the Town Board meeting of April 25th, the Town Board approved a resolution amending the Town Code to reduce the minimum service requirement from five years to two years for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers to get a property tax exemption. The Town previously required a minimum of five years of service.
In December 2022, the state repealed various provision of the Real Property Law and added a provision providing local governments with the option to provide a partial property tax exemption to volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers. In doing so the State legislature amended the minimum service requirement from five years and authorized local governments to establish a minimum service requirement between two and five years of service. Recognizing the value of the service and sacrifices these volunteers and their families make, the Town Board decided to reduce the minimum service requirement and give the maximum amount of 10%, which is applied to the assessed value of their primary residence.
In the event that any portion of the property is not used exclusively for the applicant’s primary residence, but is used for other residential purposes, such portion will be subject to taxation and the remaining portion will be entitled to the exemption.
Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni, lead sponsor of the legislation and liaison to the Fire and Ambulance Districts stated, “These are challenging times and it is important to recognize the extraordinary work that is done by our neighbors who serve the greater community as first responders. Our fire and ambulance volunteers regularly answer the call to help the rest of us. This legislation helps our volunteers to serve others. I would encourage everyone who can do so to volunteer.”
In addition to tax exemptions, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers are eligible for free beach stickers, tuition reimbursement for SUNY or CUNY two or four-year colleges, and the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), a point based retirement program for emergency service organizations.