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Letter to the editor

January 25, 2023 - 00:00

Re: Public hearing on ESD @ Commissioners Court Meeting Jan 18, 2023 Proposed Tax Increase for Grimes County

Dear Editor,

I chose not to speak at the public hearing because I voiced my comments at the November meeting. That said, I now regret not expounding on a few issues.

It was stated by one speaker that “the law” required the court to bring this to a public vote. I contend that the law states pointedly that the commissioners should decide if it is “feasible” currently to bring this to a vote of the citizens. One Feasible definition is “possible to do easily & conveniently.”

Reasons I strongly feel that this vote is NOT currently feasible in part include:

• This is a very vague and complex issue that obviously many folks who have researched still have differing opinions. It is virtually impossible to enlighten the public before the May election as that election is generally regarding schools, cities & proposed bonds. A full representation of Grimes citizens will not be voting.


• With 7 VFD’s in Grimes, this 5-person (unpaid) board would be overwhelmed at the hours needed to learn and follow State laws regarding ESD’s, distributing this much money and establishing yet another layer of government with taxing authority. As well as the potential burden of staffing EMTs, office staff, lawyers and lack of volunteers.

Equipment and buildings currently might not even come into state regulations, yet serve us well. Doable, but nothing easy or convenient about this at this time.

Other reasons personally I am very opposed to this ESD at this time and I know I am speaking for numerous other folks who feel the same.


• Because there are NO exemptions (AG, Homestead, over 65), the 10 cents would be determined on the total assessed value of the property. Large landowners would certainly be disproportionally taxed and older folks with family land and would most likely think they are exempt and not even vote. With land values excelling rapidly, this would really impact the poorer residents that are having a hard enough time with inflation and costs now.


• It was stated repeatedly that the savings in your insurance would offset the cost of the tax. This is absolutely false!!! I have spoken to several insurance people who have tried to lower some classifi cations. Without a countywide water system with fire hydrants and certainly higher water pressure it is not happening. This is rural America, not the big city.


• If folks are paying such an increase in taxes-10 cents on $100 assessment (virtually 21% of what it takes to run the entire county plus potentially run fees and additional sales taxes where possible), they are not likely to donate or work on fundraisers. A whole new issue!


• This petition to bring this tax upon the entire county was signed by over 90% of folks in one small area. Not at all representative of those potentially going to be taxed. Many feel that this area does not want to do a regional ESD for them (like ESD #1 in Iola) is because there just is not enough money for them to manage! Rather self-serving.


• This ESD is being sold to get more EMT (Ambulances) in rural areas as well as being covered by lower insurance premiums! FALSE. No guarantees at all for multiple reasons.

This is another layer of taxation and bureaucracy that is an open-ended contract with yet undetermined 5 people who do not answer to the county and have control over a lot of our money. Personally, I would not receive any additional benefits with this taxnone! Nor would most others. Nothing was discussed in this meeting that would remotely change my feelings.


Dianna Westmoreland, Navasota