DUTCHESS COUNTY LEGISLATURE PASSES VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER AND EMS COUNTY PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION LAW
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Dutchess County Legislature adopted unanimously a bipartisan local law that will allow for a ten-percent County property tax exemption for Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Service Members tonight at their February Board Meeting. The measure will now go to the County Executive’s desk for consideration.
“I know first-hand the benefit that having a volunteer fire department in your community has, and how instrumental the members that serve on it are,” said Chairman Gregg Pulver. “I am honored to have supported this local law and to have the opportunity to show these brave men and women who volunteer as a firefighter or ambulance service member just how grateful we are here at the Dutchess County Legislature. I want to thank my colleagues for joining me in passing this legislation and I look forward to the County Executive signing it into law.”
“I applaud my colleagues for supporting this legislation, and for the opportunity to thank those who donate their time to sacrifice and serve our local communities,” said Tony D’Aquanni, District 6. “Our volunteers save the tax dollars millions of dollars, and offer so much back to our municipalities, and any effort we can to remind them that they have a grateful community behind them should be taken advantage of.”
“Dutchess County is incredibly lucky to have such robust volunteer fire districts across our communities, and now, we need to be doing all that we can to recruit and retain volunteers to serve,” said Ed Hauser, District 23. “At a time where every dollar counts, this legislation will not only serve as a monetary relief for the men and women who volunteer, but also as a way to say ‘thank you’ for the sacrifices they make each and every day to serve their community.”
The local law will benefit volunteer members who have served a minimum of three years and will be offered for each year of active service thereafter. Members must reside in the city, town or village within the service area of the incorporated fire company, fire department, or voluntary ambulance. Individuals who actively served for a total of twenty years would be offered this exemption for the remainder of his or her life as long as their primary residence remains within Dutchess County.
This legislation comes after New York State recently signed into law a bill that allows all local governments with the option to provide a property tax exemption to the groups mentioned above. However, under current NYS Tax Law, volunteer members cannot receive both the State Income Tax Credit of $200 and the County property tax exemption, despite these incentives being from different levels of government.
Last month, the Legislature sent a bipartisan letter to State Representatives encouraging them to rectify this oversight through the State Budget. More information on this effort can be found here.
The County property tax exemption will be handled by the local assessor’s office in each municipality, and questions should be directed directly to their office. To learn more, individuals can call the Dutchess County Legislature at 845-486-2100 or email CountyLegislature@dutchessny.