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2018-04-11 / Election Coverage

EMS annexation election is May 5; voters will decide

By Pat Kopecki
Wilson County News

Since Nov. 28, 2017, District 3 EMS and Wilson County District 1 Fire/Rescue have been providing EMS coverage for Stockdale, Sutherland Springs, and the La Vernia area.

Wilson County Emergency Services District (ESD) 1 and ESD 3 (Distict 3 EMS) are both supported by ad valorem (property) taxes in their respective districts. Wilson County and the city of La Vernia provided seed money to help offset costs for this short-term solution, since La Vernia EMS is no longer the provider to La Vernia and its surrounding area.

Property owners who are also registered voters in the La Vernia area petitioned District 3 to serve as the EMS provider on a permanent basis.

An election has been set for May 5, after three town-hall meetings were held to gauge public sentiment on the issue.

District 3 voters will be asked whether or not they approve the expansion of the district.

Voters in the former La Vernia EMS coverage area will decide to accept or reject the annexation.

They also will decide to accept or reject a portion of District 3’s debt.

Voters in both District 3 and the La Vernia area must approve the ballot measure for annexation to take place. If approved, the annexed area properties would be assessed an ad valorem — or property tax — not to exceed 10 cents per $100 of taxable property value beginning in October 2019.

Early voting and polling places include Life Church near La Vernia and city halls in Stockdale and La Vernia. (See “Early voting schedule.”)

For more about this issue, see related story, page 5A.

How we got here

The La Vernia area has been without a permanent provider for emergency medical services (EMS) since last November. Annexation by Wilson County Emergency Services District 3 (District 3 EMS) has been offered as a possible solution. Here is a brief timeline of how we got to this point.

Nov. 16 — Wilson County commissioners end contract with the La Vernia Volunteer Ambulance Services, known as the La Vernia EMS, citing non-compliance with certain terms of the contract

Nov. 20 — County and city of La Vernia approve agreement with District 3 EMS to cover former La Vernia EMS area until Sept. 30, 2018, while options for permanent solution are explored

Jan. 15 — Wilson County ESD 3 (District 3 EMS) receives a petition from citizens in La Vernia area, requesting annexation

Feb. 15 — District 3, after several town-hall meetings with citizens for public feedback, approve to call for a May 5 election for voters to decide

May 5 — Voters will decide if the former La Vernia EMS coverage area will become part of Wilson County ESD 3.

pkopecki@wcn-online.com

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