BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Bethlehem Town Board and Town Supervisor have unanimously approved a property tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and ambulance volunteers in a meeting on Wednesday night. The goal of the agreement is to attract more homeowner residents to join and remain in the town’s volunteer emergency services.

“We worked hard to pass this tax exemption,” said Town Supervisor David VanLuven, “because it will support the brave men and women who give so much to our community as volunteer firefighters and ambulance volunteers. A lot of upfront work went into carefully crafting this new local law. I am so grateful to Jim Potter, Terry Hannigan, Rick Webster, and Tim Hannigan for working quickly and collaboratively to write it.”

The exemption will equal 10% of all the assessed property value for qualified volunteer firefighters and ambulance service personnel. Those who apply for this exemption need to have two years of certified service and live in the town of Bethlehem. Volunteers with more than 20 years of service may qualify for a lifetime exemption as long as they maintain a primary residence in the Town of Bethlehem. By approving the tax exemption before the state-set deadline of March 1, the volunteer firefighters and ambulance volunteers can begin getting the benefits in the next tax year.