DELMAR — The Bethlehem Central School District will host a public hearing, allowing residents to share input on a possible tax exemption emergency management service volunteers.
Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed legislation that allows local governments an opt-in for all to provide a partial property tax exemption to volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers. The school board will host the hearing from its meeting room in Room D-122 at the high school at 7 p.m., and livestream the event from its BCSD Events YoutTube channel.
The law, Chapter 670 of the Laws of 2022, allows municipalities to offer an exemption of up to 10 percent of the assessed value of the primary residence of volunteer firefighters and/or volunteer ambulance workers. The measure was signed into law to help communities attract and retain volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers.
If approved by the Board of Education, qualified volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers in the district would be required to apply for the exemption.
The exemption would only be granted for property owned and used as the primary residence of the volunteer firefighter or volunteer ambulance worker. The property must be located within the district and within the jurisdiction served by the fire company, fire department, or ambulance entity to which the volunteer belongs. If a portion of a volunteer’s property is used for other purposes, the exemption would be prorated and only apply to the portion of the property used exclusively for residential purposes.
As part of its consideration, the Board would also set a minimum service requirement of between two and five years for volunteers to become eligible for the exemption. Additionally, a lifetime exemption may be provided by the Board to volunteers with at least 20 years of service as long as they maintain their primary residence in the community they served. The lifetime exemption could also be extended to unmarried surviving spouses of deceased volunteers who maintain an eligible primary residence.
The Jan. 18 public hearing on the partial property tax exemption will take place at the beginning of the meeting.