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Elmendorf may join China Grove, Harmony for fire services
The Elmendorf City Council, during its Aug. 14 meeting, voted unanimously to support the city becoming part of a proposed emergency services district (ESD), providing fire services for a portion of Bexar County that also includes the city of China Grove and the Harmony community.
China Grove’s Fire and Rescue Chief Mike Winfield attended to encourage Elmendorf to become part of the ESD. Winfield said being part of an ESD would ensure everyone served would be paying for fire protection because Bexar County would be collecting the tax, based on property evaluations, from both city residents and residents in unincorporated areas.
“Everybody would pay,” Winfield said.
Two ESDs currently levy ad valorem taxes in Wilson County to provide fire protection services to the Eagle Creek and La Vernia areas; Bexar County ESD No. 12 does the same for residents in and around St. Hedwig.
City Administrator Cody Dailey asked about the governing of the ESD and whether Elmendorf would be represented. Winfield said the Bexar County Commissioners Court would appoint a five-member board; Elmendorf has a “good possibility” of having a representative on it, he said.
Councilman Richard Rodriguez asked if a fire station would still be located in Elmendorf once the ESD was established.
“We hope the board will listen to the people,” Winfield said.
The council’s support for including Elmendorf in the ESD means supporters can proceed with obtaining signatures for a petition to place the matter on the ballot in May, when Elmendorf voters can decide the matter.
It was also a good evening for the Elmendorf Police Department, as council members unanimously approved a summer uniform for officers and the purchase of two new police vehicles.
Chief Michael Pimentel recommended a cooler shirt for officers during the warmer months. The department’s two paid and eight volunteer policemen will wear a blue and black polo-style shirt with reflective lettering from May to September; this will replace the solid black button-down shirt worn in the cooler months. Dailey said the city budget already included funding for the uniform purchase. Council members agreed to adopt the summer uniform shirt.
Council members also approved upgrading the department’s vehicle fleet, after Officer Jason Burchett made a presentation explaining the condition of the department’s three current vehicles and outlining options for the purchase of new vehicles.
Councilman Thomas Hicks made a motion to approve purchase of two 2014 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles at a cost of $40,859.75 each, along with two mobile radios at $4,452.75 each, and two mobile computers for $2,708.20 each for the two vehicles.
Burchett advised the police currently use only hand-held radios in their vehicles. Pimentel also said the department would keep the best of the three current police vehicles. The motion to purchase carried.
The council also revisited a recommendation by Augustine Ortiz to make a part of the city park available for young people to operate go-karts and similar recreation vehicles. He presented a petition signed by 89 city residents in favor of the idea. However, Mayor Evelyn Lykins said that did not indicate how many people would actually use a go-kart track. Other council members raised concerns about safety and costs related to building and maintaining a track in the park.
A motion by Hicks to have the city engineer design a track and estimate construction costs before taking up the subject again passed unanimously.
Also addressed by the council was the wording of the “final notice” sent by the city water department to customers. After discussion, Ortiz moved to have wording added to the statement to clarify a later due date for senior citizens, which was approved 3-2.
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