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Stockdale area tries again to form ESD
STOCKDALE -- Constituents living in eastern Wilson County will have a second chance to vote for or against Wilson County’s third emergency services district (ESD) in November, if organizers can get the needed paperwork in time. If voters approve it, the ESD could impose an ad valorem tax not to exceed 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The first attempt failed in May 2011 by 25 votes.
David Rice, director of the Stockdale Emergency Medical Services (EMS), addressed the Stockdale City Council July 10 about this second attempt to establish an ESD. The council gave its consent for the city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction to be included in the proposed Wilson County Emergency Services District No. 3.
If approved, the ESD would provide fire and EMS coverage to approximately 350 square miles, including Stockdale, a portion of Nixon, and the rural area bordering Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Karnes counties. The Stockdale and Sutherland Springs volunteer fire departments and Stockdale EMS service this area.
If the 2011 average taxable value of a house in Stockdale is set at $86,025, the homeowner would pay an average tax not to exceed $86.03 to support this. In comparison, the rate for the Wilson County ESD No. 1 -- the La Vernia area -- is currently set at 8 cents per $100 of assessed property value, down from 8.49 cents per $100 in March 2011.
Rice is set to meet with Nixon City Council for permission to include part of Nixon’s extraterritorial jurisdiction that is covered by the Stockdale emergency services. As of July 11, no petition had been presented to the Wilson County Commissioners Court for the item to be placed on the November ballot.
As the Eagle Ford shale exploration has brought higher-paying jobs to the area, it has also affected the manpower needed to provide coverage, Rice said after the meeting.
Rice said that dwindling funds and a lack of volunteers could mean a repeat of October 2011, when the Stockdale EMS closed for 20 days. EMS services were provided by Floresville and La Vernia volunteers.
During the meeting, the council also heard from a county resident regarding a disposal well to be drilled north of the city and addressed other business. See page 4A for more.
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