By Moses Leos III
Creation of a ninth emergency services district (ESD) will be going to Hays County voters in November as the commissioners court unanimously approved it to go on the ballot.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to call an election for the creation of ESD 9, which would provide EMS service for county residents who not live within an existing ESD.
ESD 9 would have a tax rate cap of six cents per $100 valuation, if voters approve the measure. But in order for the district to be feasible to the county, voters in Kyle’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) must approve the measure on Election Day, according to the county’s resolution language.
San Marcos Hays County EMS Chief David Smith said Tuesday boundaries for the district have been worked out. That included meeting with ESD 7, which services the Wimberley area, regarding setting service boundaries for neighborhoods west of Hugo Road and Ranch Road 12.
Smith also said multiple municipalities, including Kyle and Dripping Springs, supported the ESD.
But debate raged on the dais over feasibility of the district if the measure should fail with voters in Kyle’s and San Marcos’ ETJs.
Hays County Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley believed the district should “go back to the drawing board” if it fails in the ETJs. He was concerned over a hodge-podge of services across the county if ETJs don’t approve.
Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe argued the county could potentially pay less for EMS services if ESD 9 is partially created. Last year, Hays County budgeted $435,000 for San Marcos Hays County EMS services.
Ray Whisenant, Hays County Pct. 4 Commissioner, said providing “emergency services” isn’t a just a “consideration of right but responsibility.”
“I think this should be supported because it provides an equitable base for communities in taking responsibility for emergency services,” Whisenant said.