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Last week, the Emergency Services District 2 Board of Commissioners adopted the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget and set the tax rate.  Property owners within Emergency Services District 2 will support the district with a tax rate of 0.08464759 per $100 evaluation on property.   That rate will yield $4,414,554.72 for the rural fire departments and the District. 

The estimated debt for the ESD2 departments is approaching $9 million.  The board will attempt to consolidate debt and work toward a lower interest rate and shorter terms; however, some of the debt was incurred with contract provisions that prohibit early pay-off.  Some debt has terms longer than the expected life of the assets.  The ESD2 Board voted to end the practice of allowing departments to keep unspent funds as “capital carryover” accounts in order to better manage tax dollars for the district as a whole.  According to ESD2 reports, the District has approximately $1.3 million in reserve to be used for necessary emergency funding of the rural fire departments.  

The Board’s stated goal is to ensure that each department has what it needs in order to meet the fire-fighting and emergency services mission of ESD2.  The Board also wants to better manage capital projects (purchase of trucks, equipment, and building projects) to lessen the likelihood of litigation and to ensure transparency and compliance with purchasing and procurement law

Fire Department/Division

2011-2012 appropriation

Arp

   $229,710.00

Bullard

     320,800.00

Chapel Hill

     249,168.34

Dixie

     340,000.00

Flint-Gresham

     352,514.00

Jackson Heights

     319,303.51

Noonday

     330,154.00

Red Springs

     348,001.14

Troup

     331,800.00

Whitehouse (also receives $120,000 from City of Whitehouse = $382K)

     262,403.73

Winona

     332,700.00

SC Volunteer Fire Assoc

       14,000.00

Gladewater/Mineola/Van Assistance

       35,000.00

Emergency Services District 2 Operations/Contingency

     949,000.00

Total 2011-12 taxpayer dollars appropriated (excludes reserve fund)

$4,414,554.72

 

 Please note totals for each department are different because some fire departments have no debt service or receive funding from other sources to subsidize the ESD tax money received.  For example, the City of Whitehouse opted out of being part of ESD2 and chooses instead to pay the Whitehouse Fire Department $120,000 per year to be spent at the discretion of the fire chief.  The Whitehouse Chief pays himself, two other employees, and the fuel bill from the City’s stipend; therefore, no ESD2 money is allocated for personnel or fuel expenses in the Whitehouse Fire Department budget.

 Also note some fire departments have paid personnel and some do not.  Some of the rural volunteer fire departments pay their chiefs and some do not.