CARMEL – Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne is advocating for the adoption of new legislation that will cement a property tax deduction program for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers. In late December of 2022, Governor Hochul signed into law A10155A, which was co-sponsored by then-Assemblymen Kevin Byrne and Michael Lawler. The legislation standardizes and simplifies the existing tax breaks, allowing all counties across New York State to opt into the program.
“This is government at its best; supporting and giving back to those who do the selfless work of protecting their communities and neighbors,” said County Executive Byrne. “I’m proud to have helped work on this legislation while I was an Assemblyman, and I’m even prouder to be able to bring it home to the brave volunteers in Putnam County as their County Executive. I look forward to collaborating with our partners in the County Legislature to provide this tax break, and I thank Governor Hochul for signing our legislation into law.”
The new law allows for local governments to offer up to a 10% exemption of assessed value to eligible volunteers as well as a number of other options to opt-in to with the goal of assisting in recruitment and retention of volunteer fire and ambulance services.
“For years, our volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel have been saddled with New York’s crushing tax burden,” said Rep. Michael Lawler. “Bill A.10155-A provides critical relief to our first responder heroes, and I strongly encourage the Putnam County Legislature and all municipalities within Putnam to pass this true 10% property tax break for the folks who put their lives on the line for our communities each and every day.”
“This isn’t traditionally thought of as a public safety issue, but it is. Providing this tax deduction is just another incentive in retaining a strong volunteer fire and ambulance corps,” said Paul Jonke, Chairman of the Putnam County Legislature. “We’re committed to ensuring our volunteer first responders can receive whatever compensation we can give them. I thank County Executive Byrne for his support of this legislation, and for sponsoring the law that made it possible when he was an Assemblyman.”
“Ensuring this tax exemption for volunteer ambulance workers and firefighters becomes law in Putnam County is one of our top priorities this year,” said Toni Addonizio, County Legislator and Rules Committee Chair. “These individuals are generous with both their time and livelihoods and I encourage my colleagues in the legislature to support this measure.”
This new law replaces previously enacted legislation by former State Assemblyman Will Stephens Jr. in 2002 that provided a similar tax break. While New York State’s Department of Taxation and Finance allowed the county to offer the tax exemption, the old legislation was rendered obsolete due to the increase in census population of Putnam County.