Dear Fellow Firefighter:
For the first time in New York State, all taxpayers are being given an option this tax season to make a voluntary contribution to the Volunteer Firefighter and Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Fund by checking a box on their 2010 income tax return. Thanks to efforts by former Governor David Paterson, Assembly Member Robert Sweeney and the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, the Fund was created to offer grants to fire and emergency service organizations for the purpose of recruiting and retaining volunteers. Fire and EMS departments and companies are eligible to apply for such grants.
When you do your taxes this year, consider making a contribution to this important Fund by checking item 60h on your tax form, and encourage your friends to do the same. According to Assemblyman Sweeney, it could raise as much as $1 million dollars a year.
The Volunteer Firefighter and Volunteer Emergency Services Recruitment and Retention Fund was established by the New York State Legislature in 2009 and signed into law by Governor Paterson to be effective for NYS tax year 2010, in order to give the NYS Tax Department ample lead time to include the check-off box on all applicable tax forms.
Monies will be made available from the Fund by the State Comptroller via vouchers approved by the Secretary of State, upon the recommendation of the Office of Fire Prevention and Control. All monies received during a fiscal year would be utilized prior to the end of the fiscal year solely to provide grants to volunteer firefighting and emergency services organizations and to statewide organizations which represent the interests of volunteer firefighters and EMS providers.
Grant money will be used by fire departments for the development and implementation of recruitment and retention marketing plans, publicity campaigns, community awareness initiatives, design, production and distribution of promotional merchandise, brochures, sponsorship of local community events designed to help recruit volunteers, newspaper publications and similar advertising.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.