KINGSTON – Ulster County Legislator Craig Lopez (R, Shawangunk) has proposed a resolution to allow the county to implement a tax exemption under certain circumstances for the un-remarried spouses of volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers killed in the line of duty. The request to the state is similar to the exemption that active volunteers may qualify for today.
“These trained volunteers not only risk their lives to save life and property, but they sacrifice precious family time and resources to receive the same training as paid first responders,” Lopez said, who said it is “important that we offer some assistance to their surviving spouse and family in the event of tragedy.”
The chairman of the county legislature’s Public Health and Social Service Committee said volunteer fire and ambulance workers can qualify for some property tax exemptions if they meet certain criteria that include being an enrolled member of a volunteer fire department or ambulance service for five years. Currently in Ulster County, the spouse of the volunteer loses the exemption if or when the volunteer dies, even in the line of duty.
“If the home rule request is approved by the state legislature, Ulster County ambulance and fire department volunteers could rest assured that their surviving spouse would be eligible to continue to receive the same exemptions they qualify for now,” Lopez said.