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May 9, 2013

Annexation decision in Aledo, ESD No. 1

Aledo firefighters back ESD annexation, a move opposed by six area mayors

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Voters who live inside Aledo Volunteer Fire department’s fire coverage area, as well as those within the boundaries of Emergency Services District No. 1, are voting on whether to annex Aledo’s fire district into the ESD.

Early voting ended Tuesday, and Election Day is Saturday, with polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A majority of voters in both areas must vote in favor of the measure for it to pass. If a majority in either the Aledo fire district or ESD No. 1 reject the first proposition, the measure fails. A second, related measure will also appear on the ballot, with voters asked to assume a proportionate share of the ESD’s outstanding debts and taxes. Both propositions one and two must pass in order for the annexation proposal to succeed.

The total debt balance for ESD No. 1 facilities is $710,500, according to ESD No. 1 Assistant Chief Stephen Watson, with a total fleet debt balance of $1.5 million and an annual fiscal debt service payment allocation of $313,000.

The proposed annexation is opposed by six area mayors: Gerhard Kleinschmidt, of Annetta South; Rob Watson, of Annetta North; Bruce Pinckard, of the Town of Annetta; Pat Deen, of the City of Hudson Oaks, Richard Neverdousky, of the City of Willow Park, and Dennis Hooks, of the City of Weatherford.

The mayors are advising citizens to vote against the measure and have added their signatures to a recent political flyer entitled, “We can Make a Difference,” sponsored by a political action committee called Parker County Citizens for Responsible Public Safety.

In the flyer, the mayors point to a tax increase, the loss of city controls, indirect representation and the expense associated with annexing areas already included in an ESD.

Should voters approve the initiative, residents within Aledo’s fire coverage area — encompassing the cities of Aledo and Annetta South, most of Annetta and about 40 homes in Annetta North, as well as unincorporated areas — will begin paying up to 10 cents per $100 property valuation for fire and emergency services beginning January of 2015.

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