Emergency Service District Proposed - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/06/06 - Nacogdoches

Emergency Service District Proposed

by Donna McCollum

Emergency services districts are becoming an extremely popular way to fund volunteer fire departments. There are two districts in Nacogdoches County and a third is being proposed in the Central Heights and Appleby areas. An increasing number of large and expensive homes and subdivisions can be found in the areas.

With millions of dollars at stake you can understand why homeowners have petitioned for an emergency services district. Bigger and better fire departments bring down fire protection ratings set by the Insurance Service Office. Right now the area has the highest rating given. Organizer Dave Crawford said, "By dropping our ISO rating we actually save the citizens more money on their house insurance or homeowners insurance and we get to one point where we actually saving them money above and beyond the percentage we would be collecting from the county on the tax dollars." The maximum tax rate could be 10-cents per $100 valuation, but the maximum is seldom set. The two districts in Cushing and Douglass have a tax rate right around 3-cents.

The additional revenue is used to build better departments. Crawford said, "Hopefully our long term goal would be to put on a person during the day so the response will be quicker and of course fire service, 80% of fire calls are EMS and the first 4-6 minutes are very crucial in terms of a person's life."

Commissioners have the petition packet. Everything is in order, but one minor roadblock was discovered. Judge Sue Kennedy said in court, "we followed Mr. Crawford's description of the boundary areas and in one particular segment of the boundaries we have a conflict on the county road names and number." that should be resolved this week allowing the commission to set hearings and ultimately an election date. Emergency district organizers were told November will probably be the soonest an election can be called.

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