Five men were appointed Wednesday by the Parker County Commissioners Court to run the county’s newest emergency services district, ESD No. 9.
The new ESD board of commissioners will be responsible for providing fire and emergency services to the southwest part of Parker County and setting property tax rates to fund the new district.
The district was put in place by area voters during the November election and has the ability to levy a property tax of up to ten cents per $100 valuation.
Out of seven interviewed, Jim Calhoun, Josh Clark, Clay Martin, Jack Pritchard, and Wally Steen were appointed during a special session Wednesday, county spokesman Joel Kertok confirmed.
“Everybody who applied would have made a good board member,” Precint 3 County Commissioner John Roth said. “We as a group selected the five that we thought would make the best fit.”
Three were appointed to two-year terms, while two were appointed to one-year terms, creating staggered terms for the ESD commissioners, according to Roth.
“It means we can start making plans for when we actually get funded,” Brock-Dennis VFD Chief Travis Scrimshire said, adding that the district won’t have funding to provide the department until a property tax rate is set up and collections begin the next fiscal year.
Department operations should contine as normal through the rest of the year, Scrimshire said.
One of the top priorities for the department is seeking funding for first responder response, Scrimshire said. Right now the VFD’s budget doesn’t allow firefighters to provide emergency response for medical calls prior to ambulance arrival.
The Brock-Dennis area has a significant need for it because of the distance LifeCare must travel to respond to calls in the area, according to Scrimshire.
Dispatching the department to those type of calls would approximately double the call volume, costing the VFD fuel and wear-and-tear on the vehicles, Scrimshire has said in the past.
Scrimshire said he knows most of those appointed to the district. All of the newly appointed commissioners have been in the community for a while and know where the department has been and where they are at, according to Scrimshire.
Who are the ESD commissioners?
Josh Clark said he has lived in the southwest area of Parker County for five or six years and currently works as a firefighter for the City of Fort Worth and works part-time with Eagle Mountain Fire Department.
He has watched the ESD-funded Eagle Mountain Fire Department, which used to be an all volunteer fire department, grow over time, Clark said.
Clark said he expects the district to have a lot going on initially because it is in its infancy.
Asked about his goals or things he’d like to see happened for the area, Clark said he believes one thing that has really benefitted Parker County ESD Nos. 1 and 7 has been having personnel at the station during the day, typically the lowest staffing time for volunteer departments.
Clay Martin, who married into the Brock community, currently owns a pest control company in Brock and formerly worked in the education field, including serving as an assistant principal.
He has been a Brock-Dennis VFD supporter for years and has a vested interest in seeing the area is served, Martin said.
His goals are to see that the volunteer fire department gets the things that they need to serve the community and push the VFD into the future, Martin said.
Jack Pritchard, who starting a landscape lighting business, said he is knowledgeable about working with budgets, having worked in hospitals and other aspects of business.
Pritchard said he and his wife have lived in the Brock area since 1977 and served with the Brock-Dennis VFD for about six years ago until about a year-and-a-half-ago, when he decided to let younger men continue to respond to calls.
He is still involved with the volunteers on the department, Pritchard said.
His goal serving the district is to take care of the financial end of things and help the department provide timely response to the area and take the department to the next level as the community continues to grow, Pritchard said.
Pritchard said he is not sure what that means yet but the commissioners will be figuring that out, as well.
As did several other appointees Thursday afternoon, Jim Calhoun said he had not been notified of the appointment to the board of commissioners. Calhoun declined to comment until receiving notification.
The Democrat was unable to reach Wally Steen for comment before deadline.