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Hoover Valley ESD election called

BURNET —  An election will be held May 8 in Hoover’s Valley for the proposed Emergency Services District No. 3 to fund fire support, officials said.

ESDs are approved by voters to fund EMS and fire protection in usually rural areas through a property tax at no more than 10 cents per $100 of property valuation.

Residents petitioned the Burnet County Commissioners Court to call the election, which they did Tuesday.

“This (proposed ESD) is not a (proposed) tax by the commissioner’s court,” Klaeger said. “It is a petition from the people.”

Though the commissioners cannot levy taxes for ESDs,  they will continue funding local volunteer firefighters and EMS crews, Klaeger said.

“I really respect our first responders,” Klaeger said. “We will continue to give them what we feel is a small percentage of our (county) budget.”

The commissioners previously have asked volunteer firefighters and EMS crews to consider creating ESDs. They say because the Legislature may approve new property-tax restrictions, land-use regulations and increased county contributions to state-mandated programs, county funding for emergency services could be reduced.

Also related to ESDs, the commissioners reviewed the financial audit for ESD No. 2 in the Cassie area for fiscal year 2008-2009.

ESD No. 2 collected more than $159,500 in property taxes and showed a fund balance of more than $45,590 during FY 2008-2009. Also, the district conformed to “accounting principles generally accepted,” according to an audit .

In addition to ESD No. 2, five other ESDs currently exist in the county, including ESD No. 1 in Horseshoe Bay for EMS only, ESD No. 4 in Bertram, ESD No. 5 in the East Lake Buchanan area, ESD No. 7 in Burnet and ESD No. 8 in Briggs/Oakalla for fire protection.

Attempts to establish ESD No. 3 in Bertram for EMS and ESD No. 6 in Granite Shoals for fire protection failed during recent elections.

Early voting for the Hoover’s Valley ESD is April 26-May 4.

raymond@thepicayune.com