County Executive Bello, Senator Samra Brouk, Assemblywoman Jennifer Lunsford, and other Officials Announce Bills to Give Property Tax Break to Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Personnel

 ROCHESTER, NY — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello, joined by state Senator Samra G. Brouk, Assemblywoman Jennifer Lunsford and other local officials and emergency responders, today announced new proposed state legislation that would provide volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel with property tax exemptions for up to 10% of the value of their residences.

If enacted, the bill would allow governments in Monroe County (the county, towns, villages and school districts) to pass local laws providing the tax exemption and was introduced by Brouk and Lunsford at the request of county Legislators John Baynes (D-Perinton, East Rochester), Howard Maffucci (D-Brighton, East Rochester, Pittsford) and Michael Yudelson (D-Henrietta, Pittsford).

“Our volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel selflessly give back to our community every single day, protecting our lives and our property, and it is only right that we do what we can to show them how much we appreciate what they do,” said County Executive Bello. “Enacting these new local property tax exemptions is one way we can thank these men and women for their dedication and commitment and encourage new volunteers. I applaud Senator Brouk, Assemblywoman Lunsford and Legislators Baynes, Maffucci and Yudelson for recognizing the importance of our volunteer first responders.”

The exemption would amount to 10% of a house’s assessed value and be available to volunteers who have served a department for at least two years.

Sen. Samra G. Brouk said, “I am proud to sponsor New York Senate Bill S6676 to provide a tax exemption for members of volunteer fire companies or voluntary ambulance services. A major component of our work as state legislators is to collaborate with and respond to the needs of our local elected officials. With this bill, we are doing just that. County Legislators and County Executive Adam Bello recognize the value of our volunteer first responders and now we have the opportunity to honor these first responders who have put their all into protecting us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Today as we kick off National EMS Week, I’m especially grateful for our local volunteer ambulance corps and firefighters who love their neighbors and their town and they show it through this volunteer service to our community.”

Assemblywoman Jennifer Lunsford said, “Our volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers perform an essential emergency service.  These volunteer first responders serve their community, often putting their lives at risk, without the pay and benefits full time first responders receive.  This bill will help incentivize recruitment and reward the service of these brave men and women who we rely on to keep us safe. I am proud to sponsor this bill along with my partners in the State and County government.”

Monroe County Legislator John Baynes said, “I hope the enthusiasm of Senator Brouk, Assemblywoman Lunsford, and County Executive Bello in support of volunteer first responders will be contagious and all local governments in Monroe County will get on board and take action to support these courageous public servants.”

Monroe County Legislator Michael Yudelson said, “In addition to the community’s gratitude for these volunteers who give selflessly to their communities, this will be a well-deserved tangible recognition of that service.  It is the right thing to do and I appreciate the efforts of Senator Brouk, Assemblywoman Lunsford, and County Executive Bello to move this forward.”

Monroe County Legislator Howard Maffucci said, “It is a pleasure to work with Legislators John Baynes and Michael Yudelson, and our partners in government, Senator Brouk, Assemblywomen Lunsford, and County Executive Bello, to provide assistance to those volunteers who do so much for our community while asking for so little.”