ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany County Legislature adopted the “Albany County Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers Tax Exemption” as volunteer fire companies struggle to recruit new members. The law provides a partial property tax exemption, 10% of the assessed property value, to active volunteer firefighters and active volunteer ambulance workers living in Albany County with at least two years of service.

For volunteers with over 20 years of service, the exemption continues for life.

“Albany County Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers Tax Exemption,” also known as Local Law B of 2023, is an update to legislation adopted by the Albany County Legislature in 2007. Included in the provision is to extend the tax benefits to un-remarried surviving spouses of volunteer firefighters or volunteer ambulance service workers killed in the line of duty.

“When emergencies happen, we rely on our emergency responders, oftentimes volunteers, to step in and help resolve the situation quickly and safely. In many parts of the County, it’s our volunteer firefighters who we rely on for this service,” said Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce. “This is a great way to incentivize new volunteers and ensure a strong workforce. I’m happy to join Legislator McLean Lane in offering this tax exemption as a show of our appreciation for their hard work, and as a way to encourage the next generation of volunteer firefighters and emergency services personnel to get involved and serve their community.”

“This tax exemption will give people throughout the County an incentive to join up with a department and subsequently stay in their communities”, said Chief Michael Romano, Fuller Road Fire Department. “This is a great benefit financially and we know that everybody can use some help.”

“As a former firefighter, I know the sacrifices our first responders and their families make each day that these individuals put on the uniform, which is why I was proud to introduce this legislation to the Albany County Legislature back in February. This 10% property tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel shows them that their bravery and selflessness have not gone unnoticed,” said Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. “We also know that workforce shortages and burnout have been felt by nearly every industry and organization across the country, and many communities rely on these volunteer services for their health and safety. We need to ensure that positions are filled and it’s my hope that this new tax incentive will allow us to attract and retain more talented people to these firehouses and ambulance services. I want to thank the County Legislature for their partnership on this effort and passing my legislation tonight.”