LOWER FREDERICK PA – The township should consult – and, Solicitor Tom Keenan said, maybe even “negotiate” – with members of the Lower Frederick Fire Company to establish guidelines by which its volunteers will qualify for a proposed local tax credit program before the Board of Supervisors approves it.
Keenan declared the proposal, upon which supervisors were scheduled to act during their Jan. 30 (2018; Tuesday) meeting at the Spring Mount Road municipal building, “not yet ripe to resolve.” He suggested they postpone action until the board and fire company agreed upon language about who can apply for credit and under what circumstances.
The board heeded his advice, and delayed the measure. It also appointed Vice Chairman Terry Sacks as its liaison to set up a meeting with the fire company.
Under a 2016 Pennsylvania law, municipalities can grant annual earned income and property tax credits for active volunteers of fire or emergency medical services companies. Its proposed use locally was introduced and recommended last year by former board Vice Chairman Ron Kerwood. Kerwood said it would allow first responders to pay lower taxes as a township gesture to show appreciation for their efforts.
Supervisors like the program, but Keenan reminded them Lower Frederick would lose tax revenue when it is enacted. It’s in the township’s interest to demonstrate “a genuine return from volunteers” in exchange for credits, the solicitor added. That’s possible only with an established set of criteria, and the board and fire company executives must agree on them before the proposal is deemed ready.
The financial value of such programs vary in each municipality, Keenan said.
Federal and state income tax return season is already under way, with its customary April 15 filing deadline. Keenan also suggested the board and fire company will want to set guidelines quickly if the credit is to be available retroactively for 2017.
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