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Islip Town grows tax breaks for survivors

Islip town board members, after passing a tax break for un-remarried spouses of deceased volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers, have negotiated more savings for survivors.

It could mean a savings of $700 to $800 annually for them on their tax bills.

During their service, volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers are eligible for tax breaks from the town and school districts, said Supervisor Tom Croci. When the board extended the town portion of the benefits in March to the un-remarried spouses of service people who died, it meant they would receive a tax exemption of $35 to $40 a year.

"But everyone who lives on Long Island knows the town portion of the tax bill is the least expensive part of your tax bill," Croci said. "School taxes are the most expensive. So what we did . . . is called each of the 12 school districts" in town.

Croci said school officials agreed to pass the tax exemption on to the volunteer's un-remarried spouses. Roughly 100 people are eligible.

The benefit is extended to un-remarried spouses of deceased members of a community fire department or ambulance organization who served for 20 years or more, and the un-remarried spouses of volunteers killed in the line of duty who served at least five years.

"I really appreciate that the town board did that, and the school boards saw fit to do that," said Robert Hulse, president of the Islip Town Fire Chiefs Council and a 49-year veteran. He said when an elderly person with a fixed income is used to that exemption, it's hard to have up to $1,000 added to the tax bill if their spouse dies.

"It's the least we can do," Croci said. "I think it's unique we had such close cooperation right off the bat between the town and the school boards."

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