— By CHRISTIN COYNE
The recently appointed first board of directors for ESD No. 8, Parker County’s newest emergency services district after being approved by voters in November, are scheduled to meet Saturday morning and begin the process of assessing volunteer department needs and planning for the district’s future.
The meeting, which will begin 8 a.m. at Central VFD’s station at 3641 North Farm-to-Market Road 51, is expected to include a tour of the facilities of both departments and discussion of each department’s inventory and needs.
Under state law, the district is responsible for providing fire and emergency services protection. The ESD may levy a property tax of up to 10 cents per $100 valuation.
The board is made up of five men appointed in November by the county commissioner’s court, two from the Adell-Whitt fire service district and three from the Central Community fire service district:
Jason Williams, who graduated Peaster High School in 1988 and moved to the Central Community the following year, is a career firefighter in Haltom City and a longtime volunteer with Central VFD.
As one of the senior members of the local department at the time, Williams said he was involved in the previous two attempts to create an emergency services district in the area and recently resigned from the department’s board of directors to take the position with the district.
“I know what Central’s needs are,” Williams said. “I know Adell-Whitt has similar needs, some needs aren’t as prevalent, some are different.”
“I think in the next three years we’re going to see some vast changes,” Williams said, adding Central needs an engine or two, as well a fire station that can park the engine.
Williams said he doesn’t want the district to take over the deeds and titles to the department’s facilities and equipment.
The less they own, the less they have to manage, Williams said.
Jim Nichols, who lives in the Carter-Central area, said he has been in law enforcement-related public service positions for 41 years.
Though retired, he is the training coordinator for the sheriff’s office, as well as a part-time medical examiner on the weekends.
Nichols said he was contacted by several firefighters with the volunteer department and asked to serve. He’s helped with Central VFD’s fundraisers in the past and used their services, as well.
His home burned in 2005 but firefighters fought and fought to preserve his house, Nichols said.
Though they haven’t yet had an opportunity to sit down and discuss things yet, Nichols said he expects one of the first goals to be to look at the equipment and training needs, as well as looking at assisting the firefighters currently furnishing their own personal bunker gear.
Leon Tiddlie, born and raised in Mineral Wells and a 10-year resident of the Adell-Whitt area, is a former educator and coach.
Tiddlie said he was a general contractor after working in education and has some experience managing finances with his business, as well as serving as the former treasurer for the 50 Year Club in Mineral Wells.
Tiddlie said he plans to become familiar with what’s happening but does feel there are some current equipment needs that need to be addressed.
Arnold James, a Michigan native who bought property in the Adell-Whitt area in 2002 and built a house on the land in 2004, said he obtained a master’s in Industrial Engineering and worked for General Dynamic and the super collider program prior to its close.
James said he was approached and asked to volunteer for the position.
They have a lot of questions but it looks like a great opportunity, James said.
Gerald Bates, a retired former engineer for Lockheed Martin, said he has lived in the Central Community area for about 22 years and has been associated with the fire department since moving to the area.
For about six or seven years, he served on the board of directors for the department, according to Bates.
He wants to see what the needs are and help with those, Bates said.