By JUDY SHERIDAN
A petition to join Emergency Services District No. 1 — signed by almost 100 voters in Aledo Volunteer Fire Department’s fire district — won support from the Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1 board Tuesday, which voted 4-0 to accept the petition and put the issue on the ballot in May for residents of both the ESD and Aledo’s fire district to decide.
Board president Rena Peden and members Bob Wershay, Brian Sexton and Mark Jack voted in favor of the motion, which was made by Wershey and seconded by Jack. Board member Saxton Bailey was absent.
“I believe in allowing people to make decisions for themselves,” Peden said. “This may pass or this may fail, but I believe it is up to the people to decide whether they want to join this ESD.”
Mona Fields, who lives on Underwood Road in Annetta North, was the only one to speak against the proposed annexation. Describing herself as a longtime community member and active donor, Fields said she didn’t understand why Aledo VFD officials chose to affiliate with ESD No. 1 instead of forming their own ESD.
“If we join ESD 1, we don’t have any say on who’s on the board; we don’t know any of the people on the board, so we don’t know who to talk to about our concerns; and beyond that ... we’re giving ESD 1 a slush fund of between a half million and $650,000; that’s a lot of money to turn over to anybody.”
Fields contended that the large amount of ta revenue to be raised in Aledo — estimated to be about $1 million — wouldn’t return to the Aledo area, but would instead pay for improvements for the Springtown, Silver Creek and Peaster fire departments, other members of ESD No. 1’s 200-square-mile district, located mainly in northeast Parker County.