Emergency Services plan back for hearing

·2 min read

Jul. 10—Hunt County residents are being invited to learn more about the proposed implementation of an Emergency Services District for most of the county's fire departments.

A public hearing on the district, also referred to as an ESD, which would also involve the establishment of a tax rate connected to the district, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenville Municipal Auditorium, 2821 Washington Street.

The Hunt County Commissioners Court hosted a special session and the initial public hearing regarding the proposed district June 29 at Greenville High School.

Unfortunately, individuals who had presented a petition to the commissioners seeking the creation of the ESD, and the legal representative who was to present the information, did not attend the event.

Tuesday's hearing is the final one scheduled and one which is legally required to be presented before the commissioners vote on whether to call for the election.

The commissioners would be required to make their decision about whether to add the measure onto the November ballot at the first regular session after the public hearing, which would be July 27.

The name of the proposed district is Emergency Services District No. 1

The boundaries of the proposed ESD are the entire territorial limits Hunt County. except for the territorial limits of the cities of Commerce, Greenville, Josephine and Royse City.

Under a Fire Protection Agreement Contract between the commissioners' court and the members of the Hunt County Firefighters Association, each department receives a $2,400 monthly stipend from the county to assist with operating expenses.

The departments also receive a stipend from the Hunt Memorial Hospital District, but the firefighters who attended the earlier hearing said the payments don't come close to covering the expenses involved; including vehicles and equipment, bunker gear, and fuel. The departments were also negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which drastically reduced the amount of fundraising they could schedule. Grants, which are always competitive, is even more cutthroat as the number of providers have been reduced.

An ESD is a political subdivision of the state of Texas that has taxing authority to provide emergency medical services, ambulance services and fire prevention and would be governed by a five-member board of commissioners, each serving two-year staggered terms. The board would be appointed by the commissioners' court.

The creation of an ESD would allow for the setting of a tax rate, with the funding going toward the county's fire and rescue units, up to a maximum of 10 cents per $100 valuation.

Should an election be held, residents within the proposed ESD would be asked to confirm the ESD's creation and authorize the imposition of the property tax rate.

The commissioners last examined the possibility of an ESD in early 2009 and turned it down at that time as being unfeasible.

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