Greene County will give volunteer emergency responders a break on property taxes in an attempt to recruit and retain firefighters and EMTs as their numbers continue to decline across the state. The move takes advantage of a law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul in December giving counties a standardized way to give the breaks.
All 27 fire companies in Greene County are all-volunteer, and the decline in numbers means there are fewer emergency personnel to deal with an increasing number of calls. John D'Alessandro, the secretary of the Firefighters Association of the State of New York, said there was not a statewide count of firefighters, but that the number of volunteers across the state has declined dramatically in the last couple of decades, estimating it went from about 120,000 in the early 2000s to between 80,000 to 85,000 today.