Redding plans to offer new new incentives to retain and recruit volunteer firefighters.
Active volunteer firefighters and EMTs in Redding earn $1,000 property tax abatements. The Board of Selectmen recently approved the pilot program. First Selectman Julia Pemberton says the departments are having difficulty recruiting new members and retaining existing members. The property tax abatements counts as taxable income so she says it doesn't go as far as it used to.
Last year there were 68 eligible residents.
The incentives include 10% discount of all Park and Recreation programs, a free pass to the Transfer and Recycling Station and a free annual pass for individuals to Topstone Park, or 50%-off for families. Pemberton says town employees already receive this benefit.
The potential loss in revenue to the town would be just under $6,000. Only one member had a pass to Topstone last year. The Transfer and Recycling Station pass is a $25 value. The Topstone Park pass is a $60 value.
Pemberton pointed out that they would have to pay for the waste that they bring to the Transfer Station. She also said this would not be a complete loss because the town gets revenue for recyclables they dispose of.
Each volunteer fire district is also a special taxing district, which offer some benefits on their own such as life insurance.