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Eagle Ford: ESD No. 3 talks finances, funding
STOCKDALE -- Due to the ever-increasing truck traffic from the Eagle Ford shale oil and gas exploration adding wear and tear on area roads, the 2013-14 Stockdale Emergency Medical Services (EMS) must budget additional costs for ambulance upkeep and replacement. This was just one of the issues the Wilson County Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 3 commissioners covered while discussing their budget, which will enable them to determine the tax rate for ESD No. 3 residents.
Ken Campbell of Burns Anderson Jury & Brenner LLP and Stockdale EMS Director David Rice addressed these issues in a proposed contract with the Stockdale EMS Association.
Among the items for discussion was an annual payment to the Stockdale EMS Association from Wilson County of $25,000. The county gives this same payment each to the Floresville, Stockdale, La Vernia, and Eagle Creek EMS. Lynn Ray West questioned if this will continue, since residents in ESD No. 3 will be paying county taxes and an ESD tax.
Regarding the funding of the EMS by the ESD, Campbell reminded the commissioners that the contract states the Stockdale EMS Association will provide service starting Oct. 1. The EMS will be paid for services rendered, not in advance.
The ESD’s boundaries and emergency service numbers also were discussed. Some clarification from the county is needed to determine if coverage includes the east side of Pandora and S.H. 80, as well as part of the Sutherland Springs area.
The unofficial total appraised value for properties in the ESD is $300 million.
The ESD will use this information to consider its ad valorem tax rate. Revenue from this tax -- which cannot exceed 10 cents per $100 of assessed property value --will be used to provide emergency medical services in the designated area. If the maximum amount is assessed (10 cents) and 100 percent is collected, the ESD could receive $300,000 in revenue.
As the budget needs to be adopted by August, ESD board members Kirby Urrabazo and Todd Lawson volunteered to serve on the budget committee to work with Rice toward a realistic budget.
Campbell reminded the commissioners that bonding, insurance, and workers compensation are “hard expenses that [the ESD] cannot go without” and should be included when calculating the budget.
Since the budget had not been finalized and the certified tax rolls are not official yet, no tax rate can be set by the board at this time. Campbell reminded the commissioners the rate must be set by mid-September.
In other issues, the board:
•Tabled discussion of hiring a certified public accountant.
•Authorized Wolff to speak to the county auditor regarding an audit report. Since the organization is in its infancy and has no money, the auditor can provide a letter for the ESD to be in compliance with an audit requirement, Campbell said.
The next meeting will be Monday, July 1, at 6 p.m. in the Stockdale Economic Development Corp. office.
In attendance: board members Lynn Ray West, August Moczygemba, Teri Wolff, Kirby Urrabazo, and Todd Lawson; Attorney Ken Campbell with Burns Anderson Jury & Brenner LLP; Stockdale Emergency Medical Services Director David Rice; and Mike Abbott of the Sutherland Springs Volunteer Fire Department.
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