Letter to the editor
I wish to address the misinformation in an advertisement on Page 3 of the 1/11/2023 Examiner.
• What is an ESD? We agree with the advertiser’s definition
• I am part of the “group” that is putting forth the idea of a nearly Countywide ESD. The District would include the County except the cities of Navasota, Todd Mission, Plantersville, Anderson, or the area in Grimes County ESD 1. The City Council of Bedias has chosen to allow its citizens to vote on the matter. If the voters within the city of Bedias vote against the proposed ESD, Bedias will also be excluded from the District. The tax rate and mode (ad valorem and/or sales tax) and amount will be determined by the Grimes County Commissioners Court.
• An ESD is managed by a five-member board appointed by Commissioners Court. It does not answer to the Department of Agriculture. The Board of the ESD is appointed by Commissioners Court for staggered two-year terms.
• The ESD is allowed to tax no more than $0.10/$100 assessed value of a property, and/or a sales tax that does not cause the local sales tax to exceed the Texas maximum of 8.25%. The ESD cannot establish or raise taxes without the approval of the voters.
• Volunteer Fire Departments will NOT be managed by the ESD. All volunteer fire department remain as is, with their Board of Directors, their management and funds, and all other parts of their entity unchanged for as long as the VFD chooses to exist. The common model is for an ESD is to contract the services of the VFDs in the County through mutual agreement. Any concerns of the VFD can be negotiated in the Contract. A VFD can even choose not to negotiate with the ESD and not accept any funds from the ESD. Other models are possible.
• County Ambulance Services contracted with CHI in Bryan are unaffected by the establishment of an ESD. The ESD board, Commissioners Court, and CHI may, if they wish, negotiate to alter the existing agreements as they so desire.
• The advertisers ask, “Do you want another taxing authority in addition to the County & Schools?” We can’t address what the reader wants, but this is a method of financing that is used by 330 communities in Texas, and it has been quite successful. The question we ask is, “Do you want to provide dedicated funding to emergency services in Grimes County so that you have better assurance of fire and ambulance services?” The tax, by law, would not exceed ten cents per $100 valuation. Therefore, if your property has a tax assessment of, say, $125,000, you will pay an additional tax of $125.00 per year.
• The average ESD in Texas serves a population of 41,224 citizens. Half of the ESDs serve populations of less than 16,885. The smallest ESD serves 242 people, the largest serves 700,000.
We agree that the voters should educate themselves on ESDs. We recommend WWW.SAFE-D.ORG
Richard C. Gremillion