The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners this week approved a property tax credit for eligible volunteer firefighters. In order to be eligible for the credit, which will be phased in over five years, fire company volunteers must have maintained active service status for three consecutive years and be a resident property owner of the County.
“As a commission, we work together well and keep the future of the county as a priority,” said Commissioner Jack Wilson. “This is another example as this tax break should help with the much-needed recruitment and retention of our volunteer firefighters. I would hate to think what the cost would be to the community without them.”
According to a Queen Anne’s County press release:
The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners received a hardy round of applause from a standing-room-only crowd of resident volunteer first responders, June 11, when the commissioners unanimously passed Emergency Ordinance 19-11, giving eligible volunteer members a property tax credit on their principal residence..
The property tax credit shall be phased in over five fiscal years beginning with credits of up to $1,500 in FY20 & 21, $2,000 in FY22 & 23 then $2,500 in FY24 and thereafter.
The first year of the tax credit is estimated to cost about $225,000. Prior to adopting the ordinance, Commissioner Stephen Wilson explained that he was all for this tax credit with the caveat that a funding source be identified for this upcoming fiscal year and budgeted annually from here out. The rest of the board agreed and passed a motion in that regard.
Volunteer Firefighter Mike Faust of Sudlersville, who is also vice president of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, said Queen Anne’s will be the third county in the state to enact such an ordinance. “This is a powerful tool for recruitment and retention,” he said. His brother Bill Faust, chairman of the county’s Fire and EMS Commission (FEC), concurred as did Jodie Schultz, chief of Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, and Francis Roudiez. All four men spoke in favor of Ordinance 19-11 on behalf of the roomful of first responders from the county’s nine volunteer fire departments.