(TNS) - Springdale, Pa., officials want to offer tax credits to volunteer firefighters, but how they would qualify for the program remains a question.
Council recently held a public hearing on offering a credit, but didn't vote on enacting it after council President James Zurisko raised concerns about the criteria for it not being available.
Councilman Mike Ziencik said that he, the fire chief and Borough Manager Kim McAfoose were going to settle on the criteria after council approved providing it.
Ziencik, himself a volunteer firefighter, said he would be abstaining from any vote on a credit because he would benefit directly from it.
He was frustrated by what he saw as a delay.
But Zurisko questioned how council could move forward without the criteria. He said it should be established and put forth first.
“We need all that broken down,” he said. “I think everybody's all for it, don't get me wrong.”
Councilwoman Eileen Miller agreed.
“We have to know what we're getting into,” she said.
Act 172 of 2016 gives municipalities the option to offer a real estate or earned income tax credit to active members of volunteer fire companies and nonprofit emergency service agencies.
Each municipality may choose to offer an earned income tax credit, a real estate tax credit, or both, according to the Pennsylvania Governor's Center for Local Government Services.
Springdale's ordinance initially provided for both earned income and property tax credits.
But after discussion with Zurisko, Ziencik said the borough would consider an earned income tax credit.
The amount may be increased from $200 to $500.
Firefighters would have to live in Springdale to be eligible for the earned income tax credit, Ziencik said.
More volunteer firefighters would qualify for the earned income credit than property tax, Zienick said.
While only about seven would benefit from a real estate tax credit, he said at least half of the 53 firefighters on the department's roster would qualify for the earned income tax credit.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.
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