Pa. township approves tax credit for fire, EMS personnel
Lower Merion Township officials increased the qualifying property tax credit to 100 percent
By Richard Ilgenfritz
Main Line Times & Suburban
LOWER MERION, Pa. — Lower Merion has approved its yearly tax credit for volunteer firefighters and volunteer members of Narberth Ambulance.
The tax credit allows first responders who qualify to take a 100 percent credit for the Lower Merion Township property tax liability.
“It’s a small cost to pay to try and help us preserve the volunteer fire and ambulance system across the township,” said Eric Traub, chief financial officer for Lower Merion.
Ernie McNeely, township manager, said under the state’s legislation allowing for the program, the township must approve the criteria covering the volunteers.
“This would be the third year in which we rebate 100 percent of township real estate taxes for the volunteers that own and live in Lower Merion Township,” Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov said.
Zelov said the township increased the credit to 100 percent shortly after the state legislature allowed municipalities to do so. Prior to that, the maximum communities could do was 20 percent.
Under the program, volunteers get points for responding to calls and attending training sessions. Once they’ve accumulated enough points, they qualify for the program.
Lower Merion first approved the program in 2017.
“Credit is only extended to volunteers who are certified to the Firefighter I level, and have accumulated enough points by responding to emergency calls, training and fulfilling other duties for the fire or ambulance company. The officers of the fire/ambulance company must certify which volunteers met the criteria for the previous year. Those volunteers may then apply for the tax credit provided they have paid their Township real estate tax for the year and receive a rebate of the Township tax paid,” according to a staff memo to the commissioners.
In 2018, the first year the program was in effect, 25 volunteers qualified for the tax credit. The cost to the township of just over $4,000. In 2023, the program grown to include 45 volunteers for just over $39,000.