The Dutchess County Fire and Rescue Volunteer Tax Break Petition sign now

Do you think that volunteer fire and rescue squad members here in Dutchess County should be eligible for a county-level break on property taxes similar to what's been enacted in Ulster County?

If you do, sign on to this petition, pass it along to all you know, and contact our County Legislature at [email protected]

[below see Daily Freeman article on this July 31st and resolution we submitted months ago on this]

Joel Tyner
County Legislator
Clinton/Rhinebeck
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

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"Fire Vols May Get Tax Exemption"
by Robert M. Miraldi [Daily Freeman 7/31/07]
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18645252&BRD=1769&PAG=461&dept_id=74958&rfi=15

KINGSTON - In an effort to make life easier on volunteer firefighters and emergency services personnel, the Ulster County Legislature Administrative Services Committee has put forth a resolution that would provide for a property tax exemption for these men and women.

"I think that anything we can do, we should," said Legislator Brian Cahill, chairman of the Administrative Services Committee. "These are tremendously important services that we don't have to provide because these people do. This is just a recognition of their contribution."

Cahill, D-town of Ulster, said the proposed exemption would not be applicable to all volunteers firefighters and emergency workers in the county because many already receive a $200 income tax deduction. Some volunteers, however, cannot claim that figure because they have little to no income. The proposed exemption would provide a five percent decrease in the county property tax.

"We understand that this is a small portion of the overall tax" said Cahill. "The idea here is that it will allow ... towns to follow suit if they so choose, so they can possibly match the tax exemption."

Cahill said the committee sent out letters recently to each volunteer fire department and emergency volunteer agency in the county in an effort to gauge their reaction to such a proposal. Of the roughly 40 agencies contacted, most replied, and only one of these responses was reluctant. The rest, according to Cahill, were receptive and appreciative of the idea.

"I live in the town of Ulster and they get over a thousand calls a year," said Cahill. "That means these volunteers are getting 2{ calls a day. It doesn't matter what time of day or night it is, they are out there."

One aspect of this resolution that the committee felt was particularly important was the recognition of those volunteers who live off the beaten path, so to speak. Cahill said those volunteers who live in rural areas of the county tend to not get recognized simply because the work they do is rarely seen.

"Coming from the town of Ulster, where I think we have the busiest fire company in the county, I really, truly appreciate the work they do and I know the committee agreed with that idea. I also think it's important that the people in lower profile areas get recognized for all they do," Cahill said.

The proposal and other proposed resolutions will be discussed at Legislature session Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Legislature Chamber at the Ulster County Office Building in Kingston.

[note: law was passed]

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Dutchess County Legislature Government Services and Administration Committee

Lay on Desks
8/13/07

RESOLUTION NO. 207239

A LOCAL LAW TO ALLOW ENROLLED VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE WORKERS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR A COUNTY REAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION UNDER REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW (RPTL) 466-c

BE IT ENACTED by the County Legislature of the County of Dutchess as follows:

SECTION 1. ENABLING LEGISLATION. The New York State Legislature has, heretofore, amended Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) to authorize municipalities to permit enrolled volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers to be eligible for a real property tax exemption as is more particularly set forth in RPTL 466-c.

SECTION 2. LEGISLATIVE INTENT. The Legislature recognizes the role of the volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers in securing the safety and well being of our communities. The Legislature hereby finds that it is in the best social and economic interest of the County of Dutchess to encourage volunteerism for said purposes. To that end, by providing the following exemption, it is the intent to so encourage volunteerism for our various fire and ambulance companies.

SECTION 3. EXEMPTIONS FOR CERTAIN VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS AND AMBULANCE WORKERS.

a. Real property owned by an enrolled member of an incorporated volunteer fire company, fire department or incorporated voluntary ambulance service or such enrolled member and spouse residing in Dutchess County shall be exempt from taxation to the extent of ten percent of the assessed value of such property for county purposes, exclusive of special assessments provided however, that such exemption shall in no event exceed $3,000 multiplied by the latest state equalization rate for the assessing unit in which such real property is located.

b. Such exemption shall not be granted to an enrolled member of an incorporated volunteer fire company, fire department or incorporated voluntary ambulance service residing in Dutchess County unless:

1. the applicant resides in the city, town or village which is served by such incorporated volunteer fire company or fire department or incorporated voluntary ambulance service;

2. the property is the primary residence of the applicant;

3. the property is used exclusively for residential purposes; provided however, that in the event any portion of such property is not used exclusively for the applicant's residence but is used for other purposes, such portion shall be subject to taxation and the remaining portion only shall be entitled to the exemption provided by this section; and

4. the applicant has been certified by the authority having jurisdiction for the incorporated volunteer fire company or fire department as an enrolled member of such incorporated volunteer fire company or fire department for at least five years or the applicant has been certified by the authority having jurisdiction for the incorporated voluntary ambulance service as an enrolled member of such incorporated voluntary ambulance service for at least five years. The incorporated volunteer fire company or fire department and incorporated voluntary ambulance service shall submit to the Dutchess County Director of Emergency communication/Emergency Management a complete list of enrolled members, with their respective dates of service for such incorporated voluntary fire company, or fire department, or incorporated voluntary ambulance service. The Dutchess County Director of Emergency Communications/Emergency Management shall then review all potential candidates and certify those that meet the necessary criteria to be eligible for this exemption.

c. Application for such exemption shall be filed with the assessor on or before the taxable status date on a form as prescribed by the state board.

d. Any enrolled member of an incorporated volunteer fire company, fire department or incorporated voluntary ambulance service who accrues more than twenty years of active service and is so certified by the authority having jurisdiction for the incorporated volunteer fire company, fire department or incorporated voluntary ambulance service, shall be granted the ten percent exemption as authorized by this section for the remainder of his or her life as long as his or her primary residence is located within this state.

e. No applicant who is a volunteer firefighter or volunteer ambulance worker who, by reason of such status, is receiving any benefit under the provisions of Article 4 of the Real Property Tax Law on the effective date of this Section shall suffer any diminution of such benefit because of the provisions of this section.

SECTION 4. SEVERABILITY. If any part of this local law shall be found to be invalid, such invalidity shall apply only to such part, and the balance thereof shall remain in full force and effect.

SECTION 5. EFFECTIVE DATE. This Local Law shall take effect immediately upon filing in the office of the New York State Secretary of State in accordance with Section 27 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, for taxable status dates occurring on or after January 1, 2008.

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