PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Sometimes the growing pains of a big city or a suburb can mean life or death, which is why many people in Pflugerville are calling for more ambulances and EMS services to keep up with growth.
The Pflugerville Firefighters Association said it has gathered nearly 5,000 signatures on a petition to start up the election process for creating a new Emergency Service District (ESD).
It says it’s much needed because the numbers show in 2013, ESD #2 had 7,300 calls for service, while last year there were more than 10,000, and 1,000 calls just this August.
“We are humbled by the outpouring of support from our community,” said Local 4137 President Josh Stubblefield. “We were hoping to get maybe 1,000 signatures, and the voters and property owners spoke in force by saying they get it. They understand we cannot continue to fund fire protection, EMS and ambulance service based on a funding model created nearly 30 years ago and meant for rural fire departments, not the metro area we serve with exponential growth.”
On Sept. 11, the firefighters announced the formation of the Keep Pfire-EMS Strong PAC, a political action committee to begin the petition signature drive and create ESD #17 to overlay the current ESD #2. They now have more than 4,700 signatures with nearly 3,800 confirmed voters and more than half property owners.
"The ambulance and advanced life support is what we're trying to grow. Without the overlay we will not be able to do that," said Trevor Stokes, a Pflugerville firefighter. "It is imperative that we put the fire department in a position to keep up with growth and the needs of the community."
Now the Travis County Commissioners Court needs the petition so they can start the process of calling the election for May of next year.
ESD #2 was created in the 1990s, with one-third of the area made up of the City of Pflugerville. The fast-growing area along the State Highway 130 corridor encompasses nearly 80 square miles and has a population of more than 140,000.
According to state law, ESDs can be funded with up to 10 cents per $100 valuation of property tax and some part of state sales tax, if available. Travis County ESD #17 will be eligible for funding from a max 10-cent property tax rate.
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