ALBANY N.Y. (WETM) – On January 18th, a school district near Albany held a public hearing as it considers providing a tax exemption to qualified first responders who live and serve within the district.

The exemption comes after Governor Kathy Hochul recently approved a property tax exemption of up to 10% on the primary home for volunteer first responders. Local governments have the choice top opt-in to the partial property tax exemption.

Those who qualify are first responders who have been members of a fire department or ambulance service for at least two years. If approved, they will be required to apply for the exemption.

One local lawmaker in the Southern Tier expressed his support for the exemption.

“If the services they provide to our local communities had to be paid services, it would cost property taxpayers more than $3 billion annually to pay for those services. So, a property tax exemption like this is really just a small token of appreciation and gratitude to these volunteers who dedicate countless hours going to training, working in the communities and going to protect your neighbors”, said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, C-Corning).

The hearing will be held during the Board of Education meeting today, January 18th, at 7:00 PM in Room D-122 at the Bethlehem Central School District high school.