Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline approved today an Ordinance to enact a tax rebate for volunteer members of Chester County-based fire companies and not-for-profit emergency medical services agencies. The Active Volunteer Real Estate Tax Rebate Ordinance provides a financial incentive, in the form of a rebate, on Chester County real estate tax imposed by the County of Chester for first responder volunteers.
Volunteers can be an emergency responder, an administrative member of a fire company or EMS agency, or both.
“Generations of families in Chester County have made it their mission to serve their family, friends, neighbors, and community as volunteer firefighters and EMTs. It is a responsibility that requires extensive training and time, with a dedication like no other,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz. “This rebate is one way that we can show how valued these volunteers are, and that we can add value for future generations of volunteer first responders.”
Chester County’s Active Volunteer Real Estate Tax Rebate program is based on a point system earned through emergency response calls, training, meeting attendance, public education activities, leadership roles and other activities such as fundraising events. Attainment of the maximum number of points available will result in a 100 percent rebate on the county property tax, with lower points levels resulting in a lesser percentage tax rebate. Volunteers must be residents of Chester County who volunteer with an eligible agency.
Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell said, “This real estate tax rebate is one of the most comprehensive tax incentive programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and is the only such program in southeastern PA. Our first responder volunteers are there for us every hour of every day, saving lives, and are very deserving of this. They give back to our communities in such an important way, and the least we can do is give back to them in the form of a rebate.”
Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline added, “Chester County is the fastest growing County in Pennsylvania, so our growth in population brings with it an increased need for first responder services – at a time when volunteerism is waning.
“We must find ways to not only keep our volunteers but attract new ones. By signing this ordinance today, Chester County is taking an important step to retain the expertise of the volunteer first responders that we have now, and to incentivize those who are seriously thinking of becoming volunteers.”
The ordinance signed by the Commissioners is effective immediately, with volunteers being eligible for a real estate tax rebate applicable to the 2024 tax year, for service provided between January 1 through December 31, 2023. County staff will be reaching out to all eligible volunteer fire and EMS agencies to share the criteria and application process for the real estate tax rebate program.