Penn. Volunteer Firefighters Approved for Tax Breaks

Penn. Volunteer Firefighters Approved for Tax Breaks

News Nov 16, 2017

The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

Nov. 16—EBENSBURG—Cambria Township supervisors voted unanimously during a regular meeting Wednesday night to establish a tax credit program for volunteer firefighters with Cambria Township and Revloc fire departments.

According to the ordinance, eligible volunteer firefighters may receive an income tax credit of up to $200, along with a property tax credit of 20 percent.

The chiefs of each volunteer fire company are tasked with keeping specific records of each volunteer's activities in a service log, which will be subject to review by the supervisors, the state fire commissioner and the state auditor general.

Along with the ordinance, the Cambria Township supervisors unanimously approved a resolution outlining the requirements for volunteers interested in receiving the tax credits.

Eligible volunteers must respond to at least 20 percent of all fire calls annually, participate in at least 16 hours of training each year and must participate in at least 12 hours of administrative work such as fundraising, property facility or equivalent maintenance, or financial bookkeeping.

Supervisors Chairman Tim Bracken said the tax credit is an incentive for more people to get involved with volunteer fire departments.

"Whatever we can do to help our first responders, we're on board," he said.

The supervisors also approved the advertisement of their proposed 2018 budget, which projects a surplus of about $71,000 without an increase in property taxes.

The $2.1 million budget keeps the rate at 9.5 mills, which Bracken said has been the same for numerous years.

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"We contribute that to the growth of our township," he said.

Because of that growth, Supervisor Robert Shook made a motion to lower property taxes for township residents in 2018.

"I'm looking at the money coming in here and the people who have supported us over the years," Shook said.

Bracken said the township hasn't seen an influx of property tax revenue because much of the recent growth is still in progress.

"We're not seeing it yet because everything is under construction," Bracken said.

Along the township's Route 22 corridor, a Tractor Supply store next to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College in College Plaza recently opened.

An Aldi Food Market is under construction with an opening date slated for Dec. 23, across from Beulah Road near an existing GetGo.

In September, the supervisors approved plans for a Starbucks and Taco Bell for the same site.

Both of those projects will require PennDOT's installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Route 22 and Beulah Road, with two entrances and exits to be paved to allow traffic back onto westbound Route 22. A proposed access road would take motorists behind the businesses to the traffic light at the intersection.

In addition, other plans are ongoing to complete Conemaugh Health System's outpatient center near College Plaza, while across Route 22, construction has begun for UPMC Altoona's new outpatient center that will also bring Primary Health Network doctors to the area.

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