An election to create a new emergency services district in the Pflugerville area won’t happen in May, as Travis County commissioners, citing lingering questions, did not authorize an election before a Friday deadline.
In November, petitioners proposed making the new district, which would have covered the same area as the existing Emergency Services District No. 2, to help pay for emergency medical service. The district, also known as the Pflugerville Fire Department, currently provides emergency medical services but district officials have said tax revenue hasn’t kept pace with rising operating costs.
The new district could have collected up to 10 cents per $100 of property value, or $152 from the average-value home.
While such an election can still happen in November, the fire department is “back to the drawing board” to find new sources of funding, Chief Ron Moellenberg said.
In a special-called commissioners court meeting Friday, County Judge Sam Biscoe said the petitioners needed to show that the new district would be financially feasible if any of the five city extended jurisdictions within the district were to vote down the tax. The commissioners had not previously asked for such information, and the fire department was not able to provide it at Friday’s meeting.
Moellenberg said the department is looking for any other sources of funding or it will have to make cuts, likely to personnel. However, he said, “we’re not at the point of having those discussions” about cutting staff.
The new district would have included extended jurisdictions of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Taylor and Hutto. Pflugerville’s city council voted unanimously last month to not be included in the new district, saying they would be able to provide emergency medical service for less than the tax hike that the new district would have needed.
The extended jurisdictions of Austin and Pflugerville make up a particularly significant portion of the property tax base of the district, and the city of Pflugerville makes up about half the tax base.
Emergency services districts around the county have been watching the effort to create a so-called overlay district as it would have been the first in the county, and among only a few in the state.