Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

Letter to the editor

November 30, 2022 - 00:00

I normally don’t respond to attacks from individuals posted in the local press but in this case, I must correct Mr. Gremillion’s quotes. His comments regarding my position on the formation of an ESD in Grimes County are in serious error. I am surprised this hearsay information has led him to half the truth. 


I am not against ESD’s. I am neutral. But I am against their imposition on a community where no financial necessity exists. It is government for the sake of government. Its time will come. In his dissertation he did not cite one VFD in Grimes County that is experiencing such financial difficulty that they are on the verge of collapse why, because there are none. His comment that I said “a population of 120,000 or more” would be needed to support an ESD is true. His conclusion that it is not supported by his observation indicates he didn’t have the complete comment or that he edited it to suit the argument. What he didn’t tell you is the size of the ESD that those 120,000 people live in is approximately 40 square miles. The population density is 3,000/residents per square mile. This creates a tax base to support the inevitable expansion of the ESD in employees and assets. Its ad valorem tax is over $.092566 cents /100 dollars.


He draws on 2 rural ESDs to challenge and disprove my comment apparently based on their smaller population. Their tax rates are $.07730 and $.10 per 100 dollars.


I don’t believe I need to comment further. The statistics for Grimes County are not in dispute only the ESD. $.050 /100 Dollars is low.


His assertion that from an Examiner story “City VFDs share thoughts about ESD” and asserts that this is my comment “it will no longer be volunteer” is correct. Although I do not speak for any municipality city or township. His characterization that I speak for Whitehall VFD on a referendum matter is of his own making. I speak for myself.


The power of the Board of Directors on the management of local VFDs contracted to provide Fire Services is extensive and not necessarily benign. The Board of Directors can’t manage in a manner that demonstrates willful negligence lest they become liable for that negligence. I have seen this before. Changes will come that fundamentally change VFDs in the county. And yes, the ESD will eventually assume possession of a department’s assets. It may take five or ten years, but it will happen.


He states that “nothing in Texas law permits the arbitrary confiscation of volunteer fire department assets” and that basically what was theirs before is theirs after. Sorry I never said “confiscation” those are your words. I said, “acquiring of properties” and it is arbitrary and may be liberally used. In your introduction flyer earlier this summer you stated, “neither you or your wife are attorneys.” What changed?


If you were a lawyer, you would have read Sec 775.052 (page 51) which sets out the requirements for dissolving an ESD. A petition with at least 10% of registered voters is a far cry from a petition of 100 property owners. 10% of 17,877 registered voters is 1,788 signatures. So yes, it is MORE that 10 times harder. Just because a properly executed petition makes it through the process doesn’t mean Commissioners Court will approve it for referendum. Oh, the next time you cite a state statute don’t misidentify the statute in print; (775.072). It looks unprofessional.


I’m not a lawyer either, I’m a firefighter.


Freeman L. Vickers 

HFD retired