Aledo VFD has spent more than 60 years operating as an all-volunteer department, supported by the generosity of residents, as well as through contracts with Parker County, Tarrant County and the City of Aledo.
But with donations decreasing — stifling department growth even as residential development gets under way again — the VFD has decided to seek more predictable support: taxes, collected under the umbrella of Emergency Services District No. 1.
Aledo VFD filed a petition Nov. 8 for inclusion into ESD No. 1, a 200-square-mile district that covers mainly northeast Parker County — Springtown, LaJunta and Silver Creek — as well as the Peaster area.
The area to be annexed follows the boundaries of Aledo’s fire district, which extends north to Farmer Road and one mile south of FM 1886, south almost to U.S. Highway 377 and McDaniel Road, west to Bear Creek Road, almost to FM 51, and east as far as the I-20/I-30 split.
Starting the process
ESD No. 1, the largest ESD in the county, currently collects 10 cents per $100 valuation — the maximum allowed by state statute — to provide fire and other emergency services.
A public hearing on the petition has been scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. at the Parker County ESD No. 1 administration offices at 315 Morrow Road in Springtown.
Following the hearing, the ESD’s board of commissioners will determine whether to call for a vote, ESD No. 1 Fire Chief Eric Vinson said, and, if so, will submit the proposal to county election officials for a spot on the ballot in May.
Because five separate entities are included in Aledo’s fire district, there will be five separate votes, Nick Walker, a spokesman for Aledo VFD, said: in Aledo, the county, Annetta, Annetta South and in the portion of Annetta North covered by the district.
“The city [Aledo] did not have to give us permission, but they did give us their blessing,” Walker said. “A portion of the resident’s taxes — 3 or 4 cents of every $100 valuation — was already going to fire service through the annual $50,000 donation.”
Voters in both ESD No. 1 and Aledo’s fire district must approve the change for it to take effect. Should they do so, the district would begin collecting taxes in the annexed area in January of 2014, Vinson said.
Vinson said ESD No. 1 has validated the petition, which went above and beyond the required collection of 50 signatures from registered voters in the Aledo area who are also property owners.
“They had 96 signatures, which they collected in two days, and we validated 86,” Vinson said. “That shows a definite desire of citizens to improve their fire service.”