October 12, 2023
Oneida County Passes Tax Exemption Law for Volunteer Firefighters & EMS
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today that the Board of Legislators passed a local law that will give active volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services workers, with at least two years of service, a partial county property tax exemption of 10 percent of assessed value.
“This will provide an added incentive to aid the volunteer fire departments and ambulance companies struggling to recruit new and retain existing members,” Picente said. “These brave men and women risk it all to keep communities throughout the county safe, and I was happy to propose this tax exemption to help ease their burden. I applaud the Board of Legislators for passing this law that will strengthen volunteer membership and the safety of Oneida County.”
Volunteer firefighters and EMS workers with at least two years of service are eligible for the tax exemption. Those with more than 20 years of service will receive the exemption for life. An additional provision is also included that extends the tax benefit to un-remarried surviving spouses of volunteer firefighters and EMS workers killed in the line of duty.
“In many parts of the county, it’s our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers who we rely on for emergency responders,” said County Legislature Chairman Gerald J. Fiorini, R-7, Rome. “This is a great way to incentivize new volunteers and ensure a strong workforce.”
Prior to the new law, volunteer firefighters and EMS works had to serve for five years before qualifying for a 10 percent exemption of a property assessed value of up to $3,000.
The new law, which follows recently-enacted New York State Legislation, reduces the service time and eliminates the assessed value cap. Local municipalities must opt in to allow the same exemption to be applied to their property taxes.
“These selfless volunteers answer the call of duty at all hours of the day and night, put their own safety at risk for the community and spend an incredible amount of time training and preparing to do the job they do so well,” said Legislator Steven Boucher, R-6, Remsen. “The partial real property tax exemption should also help with recruitment to keep our fire departments strong.”
The law was approved by the Board of Legislators at its Oct. 11 meeting.