Immediate Release

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Monday, June 6, 2020

Brian Adey

Griffo’s Volunteer Firefighter and EMS Tax Exemption Signed into Law for Oneida County

Oneida County Executive Joseph A. Griffo today signed into law a proposal he had developed to provide a property tax credit to Oneida County’s volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.

“The volunteers who keep the people of our suburban and rural communities safe are everyday heroes who give of their time and risk their lives for the benefit of others,” Griffo said. “Although the tax credit I proposed, and the county Board of Legislators has approved, is only a small amount, it is a very deep and sincere token of our gratitude for the dedication of Oneida County’s hometown heroes. I am proud that our county has taken this step to support the volunteers who are so important in so many communities.”

Legislator Brian Miller, R-16, of New Hartford said, “The modern American volunteer firefighter invests hundreds of hours in training every year. Through this tax credit, volunteers can save some money on the county property taxes as our way of showing them we appreciate the tremendous donation of their time. Because this tax credit rewards firefighters after they have served a department for five years, we hope this will be an incentive to help retain the membership in these departments so that our suburban and rural communities can maintain these priceless community institutions and provide 24/7 response whenever danger strikes.”

Griffo said the exemption would amount to 10 percent of a house’s assessed value up to $3,000, multiplied by the latest equalization rate for that community. The exemption will reduce the county tax bill between $20 and $30 for an average firefighter’s home, according to estimates prepared for Griffo. Griffo said that this exemption could be approved by villages, towns, and school districts to multiply the benefit to the county’s roughly 2,400 volunteer firefighters who belong to 48 fire departments.

Miller said the exemption would be granted to firefighters who have been enrolled in their departments for at least five years, own their primary residence, reside in Oneida County, have no other exemptions, and own single family residences. Overall, the exemption is estimated to save the county’s volunteer firefighters about $60,0000. Firefighters seeking information about applying for the tax credit should contact their local assessor’s office.

“Volunteer Fire Departments are the backbone of homeland security and emergency services for our rural and suburban communities,” Griffo said. “This exemption rewards volunteers who give thousands of hours every year to serve and protect their communities.”