Fulton County’s Board of Supervisors has granted a 10% discount on property taxes for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) workers who have served their community for at least five years according to Daily Gazette. The decision was made on Monday and is set to take effect in 2024. However, the board’s lawmakers expressed their concerns that the proposal would not be enough to attract new volunteers, given the shortage of such workers across the country.
Chairman of Board of Supervisors Advocates for Tax Break’s Passage Despite Limited Scope
Scott Horton, the Chairman of Fulton County’s Board of Supervisors, supported the tax break’s approval despite his personal opinions, suggesting lawmakers should focus on attracting younger recruits and removing the residency requirement.
Richard Fogarty opposed the measure, favoring a two-year membership requirement instead of five, and the Board’s public safety committee is expected to modify the legislation in the next two months.
Alicia Rice, a member of the Stratford Volunteer Fire Department, proposed expanding the current $200 income tax credit to attract younger, non-homeowner volunteers. She also suggested lowering the membership length for eligibility to two years, which was supported by County Attorney Jason Brott based on the report of LeaderHerald.
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Fulton County and Other Counties Face Deficits in Volunteer Firefighters and EMS Workers
The lack of volunteer firefighters and EMS workers is a growing concern, and some counties have introduced incentives to encourage people to join the ranks. However, these measures may not be enough to address the declining interest in volunteering.
The shortage of emergency helpers has caused counties to rely on paid personnel, which can be expensive and unsustainable in the long run. To ensure the safety of their communities, counties must find ways to attract and retain volunteer firefighters and EMS workers.
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