By Samantha Smith
A local state representative is opposing the creation of a new emergency service district (ESD) and the expansion of an existing district that are on the ballot this November.
State Representative Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs) expressed his opposition for creating ESD 9 and the expansion of ESD 7 in the Wimberley area according to a statement on his website.
The boundaries of the proposed new ESD 9 would cover the City of Kyle, Kyle’s extra territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), Mountain City, Niederwald, Uhland and beyond the San Marcos city limits. The proposed expansion of ESD 7 would include neighborhoods west of Hugo Road and Ranch Road 12 in Wimberley.
Isaac claims if the proposals pass, there would be a new tax levied on residents, which would result in higher property taxes. He said while the community depends on reliable emergency services, “higher property taxes is not the right answer.”
ESD 5 chief Kyle Taylor, who is also on the San Marcos Hays County EMS board of directors, said the proposed ESD 9 tax rate is 4.7 cents per $100 valuation.
Isaac proposed that voters abolish all the ESD’s in place of one county wide ESD provided by Hays County for all residents.
“I’m urging all affected by this proposal to vote against the creation of ESD #9 and expansion of ESD #7. I believe Hays County should work together to create a more efficient, more accountable, and more fiscally responsible EMS system,” Isaac said in his statement.
However, Taylor said there is currently is no plan for a single countywide district.
“I understand where he is coming from (Taylor on Isaac’s message to voters) but without a plan in place to make Hays County one centralized ESD, we have got to fund EMS services in the meantime,” Taylor said.
Taylor believes ESD 9 would be able to “level the playing field,” as it would allow residents who don’t already pay taxes or receive EMS service to pay and receive it, if approved by voters. Those who already pay city and county taxes for EMS service won’t be charged twice, he said.
Taylor said ESD 9 would remove the tax burden from the municipalities and transfers those tax dollars to be paid through the individual residents.
Taylor added that the county and municipalities won’t charge residents within ESD 9 boundaries a tax for EMS services if this proposition passes. They could allocate those funds towards infrastructure improvements or other needed projects.
While voting for the creation of the ESD 9 would create a different tax for residents to pay, Taylor said that it might be necessary for the continued supplies and services to operate in the area.
“We don’t have enough ambulances as it is. The proceeds from the creation of ESD 9 would go to getting more supplies, additional ambulances and other things we need to serve residents in an emergency,” Taylor said.
What new ESDs could mean to voters:
Areas/municipalities to be included in ESD 9, if created by voters:
Kyle – Uhland – Niederwald – Mountain City – Kyle extraterritorial jurisdiction – San Marcos extraterritorial jurisdiction
ESD 9 proposed tax rate: $.047 per $100 valuation
Areas/subdivision to be annexed into ESD 7, if approved by voters:
Summer Mountain Ranch – Falconwood – Oakwood Loop – Hugo Road – Cielo Ranch Road
ESD 7 FY 2017 tax rate: $.0618 per $100 valuation