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SPICEWOOD — Burnet County ESD No. 9 and Spicewood VFD-EMS, Inc. announced July 9 that the two entities have signed the first emergency services provider agreement for the district’s area in southeastern Burnet County.

The agreement, under which Spicewood VFD-EMS will receive a portion of its costs of providing both fire protection and first-responder medical services in the ESD, will formally take effect Oct. 1, which is the starting date of the 2015 fiscal year for both entities.

Burnet County ESD No. 9 was formally established under state law in November 2013 by the Burnet County Commissioners Court after the voters in the district overwhelmingly approved the measure.

In the next steps toward implementing the agreement, the Spicewood VFD-EMS will submit a funding request and proposed annual budgets to the ESD’s board of commissioners, which consists of five local residents appointed in January 2014 by the commissioners court. After an agreement is reached on both an operating and a capital budget for the services provider and finalization by the ESD of its own budget, the district board will set a final property tax rate.

An ESD might impose up to a 10 cents per $100 property valuation.

The new agreement, in addition to formally establishing the Spicewood VFD-EMS as Burnet County ESD No. 9’s key services provider in the district, sets initial goals for performance, response times and professional training for the VFD-EMS. It also sets in motion a multi-year plan of expenditures to improve overall public safety by upgrading the equipment, apparatus and service levels of the department to meet the growing needs of the Spicewood community.

“We are excited to move forward with this agreement with Burnet County ESD No. 9,” said VFD Chief Dean Lester.  “In partnership with the ESD, we will be better able to update our communications resources, improve training for our volunteers, invest in better fire-fighting apparatus and equipment, and provide better emergency services to our Spicewood Community here in Burnet County.”

The Marble Falls Area Emergency Medical Service, Inc. will continue to serve the Spicewood community with emergency ambulance services when necessary, including transport and life-support services, under an existing contract with Burnet County.

editor@thepicayune.com