Ad Valorem Election 2022
Building a Foundation for the Future
What is Wise County ESD # 1?
An Emergency Service District (ESD) is an independent local government created by voters through an election in a geographical area to provide fire protection, emergency medical services or both. There are more than 300 districts operating in the state of Texas protecting more than 8 million Texans.
Wise County ESD #1 is the government entity that collects property tax to provide funding for emergency services to the citizens within its geographical boundaries which include the communities of Boyd, Keeter, Aurora and Springtown.
WCESD # 1 was created in 2001 by it's voters within it's geographical boundaries. The district provides emergency services to over 89 square miles.
What services do WCESD #1 provide?
WCESD #1 provides fire protection and first response for medical emergencies to the citizens with in the districts geographical boundaries.
What is an Ad Valorem Tax?
Property taxes-also called ad valorem taxes-are locally assessed taxes. The county appraisal district appraises property located in the county, while local taxing units set tax rates and collect property taxes based on those values. Many taxing units outsource collections to a single entity in the county. Property taxes provide more tax dollars for local services in Texas than any other source
Are homeowners over the Age of 65 subject to a Tax freeze?
Tax Code Section 11.261 allows a city, county or junior college district to offer age 65 and older or disabled homeowners a limitation on the property taxes imposed on their homesteads. Unfortunately ESD's do not have that constitutional or statutory authority.
How will this impact my property tax rate?
WCESD #1 is authorized by state law and it's voters to imposes a $0.3 per $100.00 of property valuation. The Board of Commissioners have adopted a tax rate of $0.3/$100.00 tax rate at it's September 7, 2022 board meeting. The Commissioners have received a master plan from the Fire Chief and financial overcasts. The forecasts show the need to collect $0.10 per $100.00 of property valuation to provide fire protection and first response medical care. A property owner with a home taxable valuation of $300,000.00 will pay approximately $25.00 per month or $300.00 per year for fire protection services.
Resolution 08-10-22-08 calls for an increase to a maximum of $0.10 per $100.00 property value
How will the additional funding be used?
Revenue generated from WCESD #1 provides funding for the following:
Remodel of Fire Station - Currently the fire station does not have proper housing for firefighters to stay over night. A workout room was converted to a bunk style bedroom with 2 bunkbeds for firefighters to stay the night. The station currently does not have proper bedrooms to house both the Male and the Female volunteer firefighters. Funding will be used to add up to 8 bedrooms to provide proper sleeping quarters for firefighters to stay over night.
Life Safety - The district writes multiple grants per year to assist with the overwhelming cost of equipment. Over time, these grants are getting harder and harder to acquire. Currently, the department is in need of structural protection gear. This gear provides the safety for our firefighters to be able to enter into an Immediate Danger to Life or Health (IDLH) atmosphere. In addition, following our Cancer Mitigation Policy, firefighters need two sets of structural gear. This allows our firefighters the ability to DECON their gear when they return from a fire. This structural gear is washed in an extractor which removes the harmful contaminants. While that gear is being serviced, a second set of structural gear is needed to complete that firefighters shift. A structural firefighting ensemble cost $4,965.00 per firefighter.
Life Safety - Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) are the devices worn by firefighters that allow them to breath in an IDLH atmosphere. Our current SCBA's were manufactured in 1996. There have been multiple advances in technology to provide a higher level of safety to a firefighter. Following National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) our SCBA's should have the following:
Universal Emergency Breathing Safety System (UEBSS) is an accessory for the SCBA that allows two SCBA's to be connected together for buddy breathing in the event an SCBA has a failure in an IDLH atmosphere.
Rapid Intervention Universal Air Connection (RIC/UAC) allows air to be supplied to a downed firefighter by either a Rapid Intervention Pack (RIT-PAK) or another SCBA.
Personal Accountability Safety System (PASS) is currently installed on our SCBA's. Through changes in technology, PASS devices are now blue tooth compatible and link with SCBA's in the general area. This allows for a quicker response and better location for a downed firefighter.
Recruitment and Retention - Funding will be used to begin our transition from a volunteer fire department to a combination volunteer/fulltime department. Our staffing levels will provide a minimum 3 person engine company for fire protection to the district 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. Over a 5 year plan, the goal is to have a minimum staffing level of 6 firefighter per day. This will allow us to place a minimum of 2 apparatus in service each day. Click Here for our 5 year projection draft for additional details.
Apparatus Replacement - Following National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines, apparatus should be in a primary response for 10 years and then placed in a reserve status for 10 years. At the end of the lifespan, that apparatus should be placed out of service. Our goal is to create an apparatus replacement plan that will meet or exceed the needs of the district for years to come.
Second Fire Station - As our community continues to grow and our call volume increases, the need for a second fire station increases. In our 5 year plan, we show the need for a second fire station which will increase our staffing levels.
Insurance Services Office (ISO) - During the year 2021, the district worked with ISO to evaluate the district's fire protection. Prior to an Audit performed by ISO, our classification was Class 6/6X. Upon completion of the Audit, the new Classification is Class 4/4X. This new classification went into affect September 1, 2022. The goal of the fire department in our 5 year plan is to acquire a Class 3/3X. This will provide a significant savings to the citizens as well as our commercial development within our district.
For additional Information regarding the uses of funding, Click Here.
What happens if the Ballot measures do not pass?
WCESD #1 and the Board of Commissioners will continue to provide fire protection and first response medical services to the district. The failure of the election will hinder the Board's ability to conduct business for the district. Over the past 10 years, the district has seen an increase in call volume of 88% while our revenue has increased by 41%. This data shows our call volume is far outweighing our revenue stream. Over the next 5 years, the district would have difficulty providing the level of service our citizens have come to expect. We have seen an exponential growth in both residential and commercial throughout our district. With this comes the need for increased apparatus and equipment to mitigate any hazards presented to the Fire Department. The Board of Commissioner's fear that over the next 5 years, the Fire Department will not have the tools necessary to mitigate hazards presented on a daily basis.
What are the 3 most important things to know about this election?
With new citizens and businesses moving to our district, our community is growing. We need to build a foundation that will ensure our fire department will grow with the growing needs of our community and the need for a higher level of fire protection is growing too.
Because it would be impossible for WCESD #1 to continue serving our growing community at our current funding level, this resolution calling for an election was proposed. With it, our residences would enjoy highly motivated, highly trained, and well equipped firefighters to mitigate any emergency in your time of need.
If voters within WCESD #1 do not approve, the set back will undoubtedly hinder the Board of Commissioner's ability to provide the highest level of fire protection possible to it's residences for years to come.