The Senate today passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer 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) in a statement. “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) 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.
The bill now heads to the House for consideration. The House passed companion legislation (2023 H-5263), sponsored by Rep. Alex Finkelman, on March, 2, and is awaiting consideration by the Senate.
“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.”