Each year the Aledo VFD holds pancake breakfasts, steak dinners and visits with the small towns in their service area asking for financial help. Everyone knows donations, grant funding, citizen and county support have declined while demand for service increases by about 15 percent per year. This is not something new. The volunteers give 110 percent. The town of Annetta gave only $750 last year to help the VFD. Contrary to statements made by the mayor, the ESD 1 board has agreed to put money collected back into the district to hire full-time firefighters, build stations and update equipment.
“The State Legislature is recognizing that there are some serious problems with the ESD laws as many ESDs are actively trying to grab taxable area before corrections can be made to the laws.”
This is another untruth. Aledo approached the ESD long before any change to the law was crafted. Aledo presented the petition in November 2012. This annexation request was the reason for HB 1798, which was not written until 2013. ESD 1 had nothing to do with this annexation except to approve the petition when it was presented. By law, ESD 1 has the duty to either accept or deny the petition and does not officially take a stand. Unlike the City of Annetta, ESD 1 has honored the citizen’s petition request and provided them the right to choose in election.
“It is my belief that all of the East Parker County cities can do much better by listening to our citizens about the needs they have and exercising some power over what the services provided should be. This ‘one-size-fits-all’ vote that we are being asked to weigh in on only benefits the AVFD. Although brave and effective at the volunteer level, they are unwilling to step up their standards in any real and enforceable way at the requests of those they serve even if this vote passes. Basically, we’ll be unable to contractually improve standards to a point where our citizens are better served in each community and forever give up the ability to control our emergency.”