Volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance crew members in Bucks County may soon see a tax break on their county taxes due to a new program greenlit by county commissioners.
In a move to incentivize more residents to join emergency services and reward those who already volunteer, the Bucks County Commissioners – two Democrats and a Republican – on Wednesday unanimously approved a property tax rebate program.
The incentive, which will employ a points system, could offer rebates up to $1,000 annually. Points can be earned from training, calls, public outreach, and administrative tasks, with added incentives for longer service, according to the approved ordinance.
The county initiative is solely for county taxes. Individual municipalities and school districts can introduce their own incentives, according to a 2016 state law.
Bucks County Commissioners Chairperson Bob Harvie said the program is being implemented in an attempt to encourage residents to volunteer with the fire service or the emergency medical service.
The county plans to work with its 54 municipalities to ensure volunteers are informed about the program.
The rebate program is set to go into effective for the 2024 tax year, spanning from January 1 to December 31.
Bucks County joins the ranks of York and Cumberland counties in implementing such an incentive.
The ordinance approved by the commissioners makes it a misdemeanor of the first degree with a $2,500 fine if responders are caught falsifying their points.