A new tax rebate program has been announced in Coaldale, aimed at easing the financial burden associated with being a volunteer firefighter.
It benefits firefighters who own their own homes in Coaldale and reside in them. Businesses owners who own the building in which they operate also qualify.
“I did not volunteer to get this incentive, I did it for the community,” said Craig Wilson, a volunteer firefighter with the Town of Coaldale. “But it is a good incentive to get other volunteers out there.”
Randy Van Seters owns Intercontinental Truck Body Ltd.. He employs two volunteer firefighters, including Wilson.
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Van Seters said volunteer firefighters have been on staff at the business for more than 35 years.
“We’re really proud to employ firefighters here in Coaldale,” he said.
“One of the great things about having volunteer firefighters on staff is that they’re usually highly-skilled individuals and they have lots of training as far as first-aid and knowing what to do in emergencies.”
Of the town’s 31 volunteer firefighters, 27 will benefit from the rebate.
There is an honorarium for those who don’t own their home because they don’t qualify for the rebate.
Seven of the nine businesses that employ the volunteers also qualify. The town says another incentive is possible down the road for business owners who don’t own their building.
Coun. Briane Simpson said the tax rebate is the town’s way of showing its appreciation.
“I just really want to thank the businesses that allow their employees to go on emergency responses, and also I wanted to thank the volunteer firefighters.”
Local businesses can receive rebates of up to $2,000 per year based on response hours.
The firefighters can get a maximum of $1,000 depending on how many hours they log.