A Democratic Danbury City Councilman is proposing a tax abatement for members of the City's volunteer fire companies. It's a program in place in some surrounding towns, which only have volunteer firefighters.
Frank Salvatore Jr says training and other requirements have increased since he became a volunteer fireman in the 1980s, when all that was required was a physical from a doctor. The proposal would exclude elected officials from getting the tax break.
An ad hoc committee was formed in 2007, but never recommended an ordinance. Mayor Joe Cavo plans to re-appoint members to that committee, but has concerns about eligibility, management and the spirit of volunteerism. Cavo, before retirement, worked for the career Fire Department.
Danbury has 80 to 100 volunteer firefighters in 12 companies, but they are consolidating due to a shortage of volunteers. Danbury volunteers must meet physical requirements, be certified annually, and complete quarterly training sessions with career staff and weekly sessions with their own companies. The city covers these costs.