Chester County Commissioners, Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline, have given the green light to an ordinance introducing a real estate tax rebate for volunteer members of Chester County-based fire companies and non-profit emergency medical services agencies.
The Active Volunteer Real Estate Tax Rebate Ordinance offers a financial incentive, in the form of a rebate, on real estate taxes imposed by Chester County for first responder volunteers
This real estate tax rebate applies to volunteers serving as emergency responders, administrative members of fire companies or EMS agencies, or both. Moskowitz emphasized the significant dedication required of these volunteers, stating that generations of families have committed themselves to serving their community as firefighters and EMTs.
The program utilizes a point system based on factors like emergency response calls, training, meeting attendance, public education efforts, leadership roles, and fundraising events. Achieving the maximum points available leads to a 100 percent rebate on county property tax, with lower points resulting in a proportionally lower tax rebate. Eligible volunteers must be Chester County residents affiliated with a qualifying agency.
Maxwell praised the program as one of the most comprehensive tax incentives in Pennsylvania and the sole program of its kind in southeastern PA
He emphasized the vital role first responder volunteers play in saving lives and emphasized the importance of giving back to them. Kichline underscored the need to retain and attract volunteers in a rapidly growing county. She stated that the ordinance is a crucial step in recognizing the expertise of current volunteer first responders and encouraging potential new volunteers.
The ordinance takes immediate effect, making volunteers eligible for a real estate tax rebate applicable to the 2024 tax year for service provided from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023. County staff will provide eligible volunteer fire and EMS agencies with information on the criteria and application process for the rebate program.