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Section A: General News


Voters to decide on Stockdale-area ESD




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Wilson County News
September 5, 2012 | 1,109 views | 2 comments

Voters living in the area currently serviced by the Stockdale Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will experience a case of déjà vu Nov. 6, as they again will be asked to weigh in on the proposed creation of an emergency services district (ESD). The Wilson County Commissioners Court held a public hearing and special called meeting on the issue Aug. 29.

If a majority of voters approve the creation of ESD No. 3, the commissioners court would appoint a five-member board that would oversee the ESD’s operations. The board also would approve the district’s ad valorem tax rate, which under law cannot exceed 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The tax would fund ambulance services, which would be provided by a service contracted by the ESD.

Wilson County Clerk Eva Martinez said that voters in Stockdale’s city limits and extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), Nixon’s city limits and ETJ, and a large unincorporated rural area would vote in the election. The Nixon-area’s inclusion is subject to approval by its city council.

Stockdale’s city council already approved inclusion of that city and its ETJ, said Wilson County Pct. 4 Commissioner Larry Wiley. He said representatives from Stockdale were unable to attend the hearing because a special city council meeting was being held simultaneously.

Wiley did, however, indicate that even if the ballot measure failed in the remaining four areas but passed in the city of Stockdale, officials there wished to proceed with the ESD’s creation. He included that information in his motion during the subsequent meeting to call the election, which was seconded by Pct. 2 Commissioner Paul Pfeil. The two, along with County Judge Marvin Quinney, voted in favor, while Pct. 1 Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. voted in opposition.

Gamez was not the only one who expressed opposition to the upcoming election. David Wehmeyer, who lives in the affected area, admitted to being one of the 200 who voted against the measure in the May 2011 election. The vote failed 200-175, which precipitated the Stockdale EMS’ shutdown for much of October 2011.

Wehmeyer alleged that assessing a tax to fund ambulance services was not in the best interest of taxpayers.

“Why are you putting this to a vote if we just voted on this 15 months ago?” he asked.

Charles Holliman questioned the affordability and feasibility of the proposed ESD. He alleged that the district’s residents would have no input on the board’s affairs or how the money is spent. Michael Hanson, who serves as president of the Wilson County ESD No. 1 board, refuted that claim, saying that his board welcomes the public’s input and attendance to its regular meetings.

“I don’t know what else to say,” Hanson said. “It costs money, and people aren’t going to do this for free anymore. I know I wouldn’t sit in Stockdale all day and drive around in an ambulance for no pay.”

Quinney reminded those in attendance of the ongoing volunteer shortages that plague volunteer EMS and fire departments throughout Wilson County, partly because economic considerations have led many potential volunteers to seek work outside the county in order to feed their families and pay their bills.

The judge also said that he favored an ESD for the entire county, but that only the voters in the Stockdale area circulated a petition to place the measure to a vote.

Also following the hearing, the commissioners voted for Martinez, who also serves as the county’s election judge, to:

•Coordinate with County Attorney Russell Wilson to establish polling sites for the election, which will be the same as the concurrent general election. Exact locations were not immediately available.

•Hire additional temporary help to assist with the ESD election, as deemed necessary.

•Use the same early voting ballot resolution board that is being used in the general election.

** In attendance: Wilson County Judge Marvin Quinney and commissioners Albert Gamez Jr., Paul Pfeil, and Larry Wiley; County Clerk Eva Martinez, County Attorney Russell Wilson, and Wilson County ESD No. 1 board President Michael Hanson.

 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
LarryJohn  
La Vernia  
September 6, 2012 8:44pm
 
How many ESDs does Wilson County need ? Check on the cost of supporting an ESD Board of Directors. Even though they are not paid, they have administrative expenses. This is money not going to your local Fire and EMS services. Why ... More ›

 
Webmaster  
Floresville  
September 5, 2012 2:34pm
 
Video posted

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