East Hempfield Township ordinance may give volunteer firefighters tax break

EAST PETERSBURG, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Volunteer firefighters in East Hempfield Township may have a little extra cash in their pockets at the start of next year.

"Anything we can do to keep them going and moving and keep them in this area, that’s what we’re trying to do," Chief Jamie Rohrer, East Petersburg Fire Company.

That’s because the township is hoping to offer a tax break through a proposed ordinance.

“This incentive allows them to hopefully retain and hopefully recruit the next generation," said Cindy Schweitzer, assistant manager, East Hempfield Township.

The ‘Volunteer Service Credit Program’ would give eligible volunteers a credit of up to $300 on their earned income tax bill.

“It’s not going to make or break them they’re still our fire fighters at heart, and they do it for the love of firefighting," added Schweitzer.

East Petersburg Fire Company is one of four stations in East Hempfield Township that will benefit if this ordinance is passed at the end of the month.

 “Every little bit helps nowadays," added Rohrer.

"It’s incredibly expensive to pay for a municipal fire service and municipalities just don’t have the funds to be able to do that without significantly raising taxes," said Diane Garber, emergency services coordinator, East Hempfield Township.

That’s why giving volunteer firefighters more of an incentive is so important.

“We appreciate what they do and so we really want to be able to give back in any way we can and this is just one small way that we can support them," added Garber.

“It’s probably the most rewarding thing you can do," added Rohrer. “I’m giving back to my community, I’ve actually helped a couple rescue and you go out there and you see people in need and you help them," he said.