Slippery Rock introducing new initiative to encourage more people to become first responders

In Northern Butler County, one town is looking to make a change.

“Oftentimes we are looking to Washington DC or Harrisburg to give us all the answers but sometimes it starts with us putting boots on the ground in Slippery Rock in what I like to call small town USA,” said Mayor Jondavid Longo.

Longo is proposing a tax credit or rebate to all first responders. That includes anyone living in the borough who serves as a volunteer or paid firefighter, EMT or paramedic, a police officer for the borough, university or even county.

“Whenever I talked to the chief of the fire department and some of the other leaders of the first responder community around us, they thought it was a great program. Of course, they are looking to being able to use that as a means of motivating and incentivizing folks to come into it but to stay with it so the slippery rock and surrounding communities stay safe,” Longo said.

It comes at a time when it’s hard to find volunteers and people who want to serve across the country.

“Mix that with statistics I’ve seen one being said PA lost 2600 EMTs in 2021 alone and that’s continuing,” Longo said.

That’s where this proposal comes from, while the actual language and a dollar amount is being worked out, it won’t come with a tax increase for the residents.

Longo told Channel 11 other communities are reaching out, interested in doing the same.

“It’s my belief that we can never pay them enough and you can’t put a price tag on safety and security for a community,” Longo said.

There will be several meetings throughout this month for the public to ask questions once the proposal is finalized. Longo hopes to have a vote and implement the new credit by the end of the month.

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