Schwank says amendment will save thousands for Barto, Eastern Berks Fire Departments

State Senator Judith L. Schwank applauded the adoption of an amendment to a bill that will save the old Barto and Eastern Berks fire departments $17,000.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the amendment Wednesday as it reported out House Bill 465, which is designed to create a transfer tax exemption for fire departments that merge or are involved in other means of succession.

Schwanks’s amendment, which was introduced by Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Chester) on her behalf, makes the exemption retroactive to Nov. 1, 2011.

“Taxing fire departments that are showing the way to be more prudent users of tax revenue and public contributions should not be the answer,” Schwank (D-Berks) said. “Pennsylvania needs to help foster regionalization of police and fire departments. Sending potentially crippling tax bills for working together is not good public policy.”

Barto and Eastern Berks were assessed in 2011 following Barto’s merger with the Bally and Bechtelsville fire departments, which resulted in the Eastern Berks Fire Department, Company 97.

The new company covers Barto, Bally, Bechtelsville, Washington, District and Pike townships; and nearby portions of Douglass Township, Berks County, and Upper Hanover and Douglass townships, Montgomery County.

“Eastern Berks Fire Department is being proactive and responsive to changing economies and new patterns of volunteering,” Schwank said. “It’s important that the legislature adopt this bill and get it to Gov. Corbett’s desk for his approval.”

More information on Sen. Schwank is available on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

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