SPICEWOOD — Two volunteer fire departments will host public hearings for proposed Emergency Services Taxing Districts (ESDs) in August that could go before voters in the fall, official said.
If proposed Spicewood ESD No. 9 and Hoover’s Valley ESD No. 10 are approved, the entities can tax up to 10 cents per $100 valuation on property in their respective coverage zones.
Burnet County elections officials said they verified two petitions required for the ballot propositions this week with 100 signatures each for Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department and Hoover’s Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
Spicewood emergency officials say ESD money would help their agencies keep pace with maintenance and growth.
“There’s constantly maintenance to the vehicles. The money will help to support the training of the personnel which is all volunteer,” said Patsy Lester, Spicewood EMS Director. “The ESD will help us to supplement our income, so we can better afford to keep Spicewood volunteer fire and EMS in service.”
The agency, which has about 30 volunteers, covers a 50-mile radius with boundaries including the Travis County line east of the community; the Blanco County line to the south; the Marble Falls unincorporated area to the west; and Lake Travis to the north.
Lester estimated that once established an ESD board setting the tax rate from four to five cents would raise about $100,000 to $125,000 per year for the Spicewood agencies.
“Over the years, the community has grown so much, it just takes a lot more funds than it did before. We have a lot more vehicles that we need to do maintenance on,” she said. “It’s more than we can afford with just bake sales and destruction derbies.”
Along with fundraisers, the agency applies for grants and accepts private donations.
Concerns about the drought conditions and population growth hasten the need for voter approval, Lester said.
“The drought is getting steadily worse everyday,” she said. ” There is going to be more fire and EMS calls.”
In the summer of 2011, a single brush fire covering thousands of acres and destroying dozens of homes in the Spicewood, Pale Face and Pedernales River Bridge area wiped out all nearly all the resources of the department , she said.
For proposed Spicewood ESD No. 9, the public hearing is at 7 p.m. Aug. 8, at Spicewood Area VFD fire hall, 9805 Texas 71.
For proposed Hoover’s Valley ESD No. 10, the public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at Hoover’s Valley VFD fire hall, 303 Sherwood Dr. in Hoover’s Valley.
Following the hearings, the proposals are expected to be voted on by citizens in those communities during the Nov. 5 election.