With more than 50 East Haven firefighters and supporters in the audience, the Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night, with one abstention, to increase the tax abatement volunteer firefighters receive from $1,000 to $1,500 — and eventually to $2,000.
The only council member who didn’t vote in favor of the increased abatement was Chairman Ken McKay, R-1, a retired career firefighter and five-decade member of the volunteer Foxon Company 3.
But he told the assembled firefighters, “We really support you.”
The issue came up at a time when communities all across Connecticut and the country, as in East Haven, are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit volunteer firefighters.
Thirty-nine volunteer firefighters currently qualify for the tax abatement, which costs the town $39,000, said Finance Director Paul Rizza. The increase the council approved Tuesday night will cost the town an additional $19,500, Rizza said.