Weatherford Democrat

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May 14, 2013

Aledo VFD annexation proposal passes

Judy Sheridan

Despite stiff opposition from most East Parker County mayors, Parker County voters decided Saturday that the Aledo Volunteer Fire Department district will join Emergency Services District No. 1.

“The word I would use is relief,” Nick Walker, a spokesman for Aledo VFD said. “We weren’t expecting the opposition. We’re glad citizens made the right choice, and we won’t let them down.”

Firefighters sought the annexation to secure a dependable tax base in the face of rising costs. They selected ESD No. 1 for its operational stability and fiscal strength, Walker said.  

“Obviously, we’re delighted with the result of the election,” ESD No. 1 Board President Rena Peden said. “We’re looking forward to working with Aledo.”

Voters in both affected entities — the Aledo VFD coverage area and ESD No. 1 — had the same two ballot propositions, one related to the annexation, the other related to accepting the ESD’s debt.

Voters in ESD No. 1 approved both proposals by wide margins, voting 712 to 362 in favor of the annexation and 655 to 407 in favor of voters in the Aledo VFD district assuming a proportionate share of the ESD’s outstanding debts and taxes.

The tallies were much closer for voters in the Aledo VFD district, where voters approved the annexation by only 42 votes —  631 to 589 — and rejected the proposition to assume a portion of the ESD’s outstanding debts and taxes, with 582 in favor and 625 against.

An ESD No. 1 attorney contacted County Judge Mark Riley after the election to say the annexation was successful despite Aledo district voters’ rejection of the second proposition. He said the rejection meant only that the new revenue generated from the annexed area cannot be used to retire the ESD’s previous debt.

ESD No. 1 Board President Rena Peden confirmed the attorney’s statement Monday, saying the ESD would need to construct a separate accounting system to ensure that money collected from the Aledo district does not go toward paying down the ESD’s current debt. 

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