JUDGE: The ESD Town Halls are coming up
A few weeks ago, my article was on participating. Last week we discussed participating in letting your county commissioners know your opinion on HOP funding. This week I would like to discuss the Emergency Services District (ESD) and the opportunities you have to meet and discuss the possibility of creating an ESD to handle ambulance service here in Milam County.
As we all know, Ambulance service was tight even when we had two working hospitals here in the county. Since 2018, when both the hospitals shut down, ambulance service has been even tighter, and the term “level zero” has become more present in the daily lives of our first responders. So, the question then becomes “what’s the answer?”
In 2021, there was a panel set up to review the medical situation here in Milam County and come up with some possible solutions to this issue. They looked at everything, all the way up to and including a new hospital to come back to the county. After almost a year of meetings and visits from various different experts and panels, the best solution they could find to the current situation was to form an emergency services district.
An ESD is a governmental organization that manages emergency services for an area, a city, or a county. ESD’s manage everything from a single entity like a county’s ambulance service or a single fire department, all the way up to the entirety of the emergency services for the area they are designated to handle. ESD’s do have taxing power; however, the tax rate that they set is governed by a public vote on the issue. So, voters would actually see the setting of the tax rate on the ballot.
What would an ESD look like in Milam County? That’s what the ESD Town Halls are all about and why you need to participate.
In the next weeks, there will be multiple opportunities for you to attend a Town Hall on this subject. To come see the presentation and then ask your question on the subject so that we can all make an informed decision at the ballot box on November 7th. Kain Dodd has done the work to organize and get the ESD on the ballot, and he will be the person hosting the town halls. This endeavor has been a long and trying process so, regardless of the outcome, I would like to thank Kain for all of his hard work.
These are the dates for the ESD Town Halls (all of the town halls start at 6:30 p.m): Thorndale Precinct 4 Annex on Oct. 5; Rockdale MDD on Oct. 10; Bea’s Kitchen in Cameron on Oct. 12; Buckholts Community Center on Oct.16; Bea’s Kitchen on Oct. 23; Thorndale Precinct 4 Annex on Oct. 24; Rockdale MDD on Oct. 25; Gause First Baptist Church on Oct. 26; and Buckholts Outreach Center on Nov. 3.
Each of the meetings will have a presentation and a question-and-answer session to go along with it. There’s a lot of information to be put out there to help us all make an informed decision. I know most people have strong opinions on the subject. That’s why it’s important to get this out there and allow people to hear more on the subject. Unlike other situations, there’s no real need for debate on this as these meetings are for information. After all, everyone will get to express their opinion on this matter when we vote.
So, as always, I ask people to come out, be civil, be respectful, and be active.