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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Visits Old Saybrook Fire Department, Backs Tax Abatements for Volunteer First Responders

Senator Needleman

OLD SAYBROOK, CT – State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Old Saybrook) on Tuesday visited and toured the Old Saybrook Fire Department, learning from firefighters how he can best assist them with his work in the State Capitol. Sen. Needleman’s visit coincided with his sponsoring of a committee bill that would provide volunteer firefighters and volunteer first responders with increased tax abatements representing additional financial relief. Many Connecticut fire departments, including Old Saybrook, rely on voluntary support from their members.

As the First Selectman of Essex, Sen. Needleman works closely with local emergency response departments, and as such knows the hard work and dedication that goes into their work, especially that of volunteer departments. He said he hopes to visit every volunteer department in the 33rd District during his time in the Senate. The Old Saybrook Fire Department has more than 60 volunteers who respond to fires, medical emergencies and other situations requiring fast action.

“Volunteers are the backbones of the small towns, and we really need to make sure we understand how important they are to town governments,” said Sen. Needleman. “I don’t think we could afford to have our own fire departments if not for volunteers.”

“It’s great to know our local government supports us,” said Old Saybrook Assistant Fire Chief James Dion.

“It’s great our politicians outside of our town are coming in and seeing what we need for support,” said Old Saybrook Fire Lieutenant Bill Decapua.

Sen. Needleman’s visit to the fire department comes as he supports Planning and Development Committee Bill No. 5125, “An Act Increasing the Property Tax Abatement for Certain First Responders.” This legislation, if enacted, would provide volunteer firefighters, fire police officers, paramedics and other first responders with additional tax abatements in return for their services. The bill would increase the current property tax abatement offered to volunteers from $1,000 to $1,500 annually or provide a tax exemption applied to their property values. It also includes tax relief for volunteers who live and volunteer in multiple towns or cities.

“Our volunteer first responders put their lives on the line to protect and rescue members of the public. They make personal and professional sacrifices to keep our homes and our families safe. We owe it to them to return this favor,” said Sen. Needleman. “By putting this tax abatement increase in place, we ensure that our first responders are rewarded for their bravery and their dedication to their communities. As the First Selectman of Essex, I frequently work with local departments responding to emergencies, and I know first-hand how hard these individuals work and the responsibilities they take on every day. I am happy to support this bill, and I look forward to working with my fellow legislators to make sure it’s enacted.”

About Norm Needleman: State Senator Norm Needleman was first elected in 2018 to represent the 33rd Senate District which consists of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook and part of Old Saybrook. Norm is also the First Selectman of Essex, a role he has held for four terms, and the founder of Tower Laboratories, an Essex manufacturing company that employs over 250 people.

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