CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — Over the years Pennsylvania has experienced a drop in the number of volunteer firefighters, so at the end of 2020, the state legislature passed an initiative called Act 91 that gives school districts and counties a tax credit for volunteer firefighters that are active members.
Cambria Heights school board voted for this action, making them one of the first school districts in Pennsylvania to move forward with this tax credit initiative.
“We got a crisis in the fire service in Pennsylvania, over the last 40 years we lost about 75% of the volunteer firefighters that we had,” Cambria Heights Treasurer Gerald Brant said.
So the state is helping volunteer fire services get back on their feet with an incentive, and after Cambria Heights school district vote they will provide a credit of up to 200 dollars on earned income or real estate tax for volunteer firefighters.
“Starting next year the chief of each fire company will maintain a list of eligible volunteers based on the criteria you established in your resolution,” Cambria Heights district solicitor, Patrick Fanelli said.
All four volunteer fire departments in the Cambria Heights school district are eligible.
So how can a volunteer apply to receive this credit?
“They are required each year prior to April 1st to come into the business office and apply for the credit, providing some evidence of who they are some identifying information along with either a W2 that shows they had earned income tax with help or a property tax bill showing that they pay property tax to the Cambria Heights school district,” Fanelli said.
The superintendent said he’s happy they are able to do this for those who protect their community.
“To provide some sort of small reward as of an incentive for future generations to participate in volunteer fire companies that serve our communities,” Cambria Heights superintendent Michael Strasser said.
The school board said they’re looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity for first responders.