STATE HOUSE – The House and Senate today unanimously passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer and Rep. Alex Finkelman, that would allow the town of Jamestown to give a tax break to volunteer firefighters.
“Our neighbors on the volunteer fire department are true heroes,” said Senator Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown). “I will never forget seeing the pictures of them this winter, extinguishing a structure fire in sub-zero temperatures while covered in ice. They show up for our community 365 days a year, and I’m glad we were able to get this done to demonstrate our appreciation.”
The bill (2023-S 0056, 2023-H 5263) would allow the town of Jamestown to establish a program that would provide members of the Jamestown Emergency Medical Services and Volunteer Fire Department up to $2,000 of property tax relief. If the member does not own property, they would be eligible for the cash equivalent. It would be up to the town to set eligibility criteria based on years of service, quantity of calls responded to, number of training hours attended or other factors. The benefit would also be transferrable to a surviving spouse until remarriage or death.
Representative Finkelman’s bill passed the House on March 2 and Senator Euer’s bill passed the Senate on May 9. Both chambers passed the companion legislation on Tuesday as part of their consent calendars. The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.
“With daily costs rising rapidly, especially in regards to housing costs, our brave and dedicated fire and emergency personnel in Jamestown deserve some relief for the vital and dangerous jobs they perform every day to keep us safe,” said Representative Finkelman (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown). “Jamestown firefighters serve the community on a voluntary basis, so this tax abatement would serve as compensation for the crucial services they provide, often at the risk and expense of their own well-being.”