The Schenectady County Legislature passed Local Law No. 1-2023, which expands the county’s property tax exemption to the maximum allowed for members of volunteer fire departments and volunteer ambulance services with a minimum of two years of service.
“Volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers stand ready to protect our homes and families when an emergency arises,” said Anthony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature and co-sponsor of Local Law No. A-2023. “Expanding our property tax exemption is a way for us to show how much we appreciate their selfless service and sacrifice for the health and safety of our residents.”
“Our local departments are looking for volunteers to help meet the increased call volumes they are experiencing,” said Schenectady County Legislator Tom Constantine, Chair of the Public Safety & Firefighting Committee and co-sponsor of Local Law No. A-2023. “This expanded benefit provides our local departments with another tool they can use to recruit and retain more volunteers. It’s also a way for us to thank those who bravely put themselves on the line to protect and serve their community.”
Currently in Schenectady County, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers with at least five years of service can apply for a 10% property tax exemption for up to $3,000 in assessed home value or they can apply for a $200 tax credit through New York State. A recently authorized NYS law allows local municipalities, including counties, to expand the property tax exemption up to a maximum of 10% of the total assessed value of an eligible volunteer’s primary residence.
"I would like to thank the Schenectady County Legislators for approving the tax exemption for the Volunteer Ambulance and Fire Department members,” said Alplaus Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Andrew Coppola. “It shows their appreciation for our efforts and will positively impact the recruitment of new members along with the retention of those already serving in the county emergency services."
“This tax exemption provides some much-needed recognition for the selfless service these departments and members provide on a daily basis to communities in Schenectady County,” said David Stern, Fire Chief of the South Schenectady Fire Department. “It will also help incentivize our current members to stay active in the department for longer periods of time and assist with our recruiting efforts at a time when finding people to volunteer is at an all-time low.
Pursuant to section 466-a of the New York State Real Property Tax Law, to be eligible for the property tax exemption, volunteers must live in the city, town or village that is served by the fire company, fire department or incorporated ambulance service they serve with.
Eligible volunteers can file an application for the county property tax exemption with their local assessor. Applications must be received by March 1, 2024 to be eligible for the expanded property tax exemption starting in January 2025. Applications are available at https://www.schenectadycounty.com/legislature/firefighter-tax-exemption.
Visit www.schenectadycounty.com/legislature for more information about the County Legislature, including the 2023 meeting schedule. Follow @SchenectadyCounty on Facebook for the latest updates.