Jeff Deats – Guest Contributor
Mar 27 2018

Proposal to create Independent Emergency Services District

McLendon-Chisholm, TX, March 27, 2018:  We are a group of concerned residents that very easily could be left without fire service in the near future.  For years, the City of McLendon-Chisholm and Rockwall County have signed separate contracts for services received from the MCVFD. Recent changes in leadership at the city have prevented this for 2018.  An impasse over agreement on control, staffing levels, and retention of current service levels has left the citizens of the city without contractual coverage.  Based on research and communication with all parties involved, a decision to create an emergency services district has been reached.

This district will have taxing authority up to 10 cents per $100 of value, or approximately $200 on a $200,000 home.  That is the absolute legal maximum.  Based on current numbers and budgets, we would likely see something around 3-5 cents per hundred.  This ESD would be governed by a board of commissioners linked to the Rockwall county commissioners.

The timing of this measure is very important.  If the City of McLendon-Chisholm is included, their council will have 6 months to approve or deny it.  I personally contacted Mayor Steinhagen some 30 days ago, and he rejected working with the ESD.  The decision has been made to delay the initial steps in order to form the ESD until after city elections in May, due to arbitrary unilateral decision made by the Mayor. 

As the situation currently stands, approximately 80% of the current department’s budget is burdened by the city, with the rest being made up from donations and from the county.  Rockwall County has no civic duty to provide fire service funds, but has done so through special sales tax that could be used for other public safety needs at any time.  This direction would allow all residents of the area to reap the benefit of professional emergency services while establishing and equitable balance of cost sourcing.

This ESD, while adding a line item onto county tax bills, will separate the politics from the fire service and allow for county level leadership.

As this proposal comes to fruition over the next few months, we would ask for community support to help maintain the quality of life and level of safety to which we have become accustomed.