Pa. borough gives tax break to volunteer firefighters

Both current and former volunteer firefighters are now eligible to offset 20% of their real estate tax bill in Southmont Borough


Russ O'Reilly
The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

SOUTHMONT, Pa. — Southmont Volunteer Fire Department firefighters, past and present, are now eligible for a tax credit that offsets 20% of their real estate tax bill.

Southmont Borough Council unanimously approved an ordinance Monday enacting a volunteer service credit program.

Current and former volunteer firefighters in Southmont Borough are now eligible for a tax credit that offsets 20% of their real estate tax bill. (Photo/Southmont Volunteer Fire Company Facebook)
Current and former volunteer firefighters in Southmont Borough are now eligible for a tax credit that offsets 20% of their real estate tax bill. (Photo/Southmont Volunteer Fire Company Facebook)

The ordinance puts the borough in the company of most other municipalities in the state that have opted to align with a 2017 state law giving volunteer firefighters a tax break, Borough Solicitor Michael Carbonara said.

“The idea is to maintain volunteers,” Carbonara said. “They have a lot of expenses they pay out of pocket.”

Councilman Herb Ewald was a volunteer firefighter of the borough’s department for 50 years.

“I think it’s long overdue,” Ewald said. “I know from past experience, the cost of all the gas mileage you put on your car.”

The tax credit program applies to “life-time” members including Ewald. Currently there are between 20 and 25 volunteers in the Southmont Volunteer Fire Department, borough officials said.

In addition, on Monday, the board approved the advertisement of an ordinance to streamline the process for homeowners who want to build additions to their house or build a new house, Council President Sheree Speicher said.

Ordinance No. 526, Uniform Construction Code, would enable borough staff to conduct building and codes inspections that residents previously had to contact state inspectors to conduct.

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©2020 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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