CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
SPICEWOOD — Voters will decide the fate of a proposed 2-cent sales tax increase to enhance the level of EMS personnel and training for communities in the Spicewood area.
Emergency Services District No. 9 officials petitioned for the sales tax hike, which amounts to a 2 percent (2 cents) increase over the 6.25 cent tax collected by the state.
Early voting begins Oct. 19 and goes through Nov. 30. The election — which primarily features state constitutional amendments — is Nov. 3.
The state collects a 6.25 cent tax on purchased items. Local entities can ask voters for a maximum of up to 2 cents, bringing the total sales tax to 8.25 cents.
“We’re asking for the 2 percent to help fund the plan to bring paramedic level emergency services to Spicewood,” ESD No. 9 president Byron Zinn said.
A year ago, voters approved the creation of the district for the Spicewood area to collect ad valorem taxes up to 10 cents per $100 valuation on property.
“We’ve been able to use that money to upgrade some of the equipment at the fire station, including first responder equipment,” Zinn said. “This would go beyond that and focus on emergency medical service for the community.”
Purchases and grant acquisitions include:
• first responder emergency medical vehicle purchased with the help of an $18,500 Lower Colorado River Authority grant and matching ESD funds;
• fire engine/pumper rescue apparatus, which replaces a 37-year-old vehicle;
• and hand-held digital radios to assist in coordinating efforts with neighboring counties, including western Travis County.
ESD No. 9 encompasses 12 miles on and around the Texas 71 corridor. Communities include Spicewood Beach, Lakeside Beach and Windermere Oaks. The district also serves an elementary school and several lakeside recreational areas.
In May, voters approved a 2-cent increase for ESD No. 6, which serves the unincorporated areas outside Marble Falls.
For Spicewood ESD No. 9, the 2 cent sales tax would raise about $200,000 by 2017, according to district officials.
For more information, residents are invited to a Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Spicewood VFD/EMS Fire Station.
Voting for the ESD No. 9 sales tax increase proposal is taking place at the Spicewood Community Center, 7901 CR 404.
“What they’re going to find out is exactly what is going to be on the ballot, where they can vote and what we’re going to use the money for,” Zinn said.
Officials are also taking requests from Spicewood area entities for individual proposal presentations. Call Zinn at (512) 565-8388.