RENSSELAER COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The deadline for counties across the state to opt-in on the tax exemption for first responders is just two weeks away.  Rensselaer County is the latest community to approve the 10% tax break for volunteer firefighters and EMTs.

County officials say the property tax exemption will help support recruitment and retention efforts across the county.

“It’s not only an important tool for recruitment, but it really defines who we are in thanking all those people who are doing that work every day,” Peter Grimm, Minority Leader of the Rensselaer County Legislature, said.

Mark J. Fleming voted yes but says that there should have been more time for discussion.

“I see no reason to pass it immediately. Not that we shouldn’t pass it. But I see a problem with us as a legislative body, using this necessity for it being passed when it’s not necessary,” he said.

The exemption will go into effect for the 2024 county tax bills. Something Chairwoman for Rensselaer County Legislature, Kelly Hoffman, says needs to happen since first responders are investing their time without pay.

“They sacrifice nights and holidays away from their families,” she said. “And this really is an opportunity for us to recognize them in a small way.”

In Saratoga County, the Board of Supervisors will hold their public hearing about the partial tax exemption for volunteer first responders Wednesday night; while Clifton Park will make its decision on February 27th.