General Info

The Consequences of Budget Cuts


Did you know that a petition has been filed to defund the fire department by eliminating a significant portion of the fire department’s sales tax revenue?

A group created a petition and collected signatures calling for an election to reduce our sales tax revenue.

If their efforts are successful, this would remove $10-15 million from the fire department budget per year, severely reducing the quality of emergency services in our community.  This could result in:

  1. Higher property taxes to replace the sales tax
  2. Closed fire stations and firefighter layoffs
  3. Longer response times to an emergency

Let’s look a little closer into each of these three potential consequences.

Right now, the Pflugerville Fire Department handles a majority of your emergency services, responding to all types of emergency calls- fire, medical emergencies, car accidents, water rescues and more. This is paid for by two kinds of tax dollars- property tax and sales tax.

This year, the amount collected from your property taxes to fund the fire department went up by only two dollars for the average Pflugerville household, despite record inflation. How are we keeping your costs so low? Two ways.

The first is we run an efficient operation. Pflugerville Fire Department is larger and covers more area than just the city of Pflugerville so city residents benefit from economies of scale provided by a larger, more robust fire department than the city of Pflugerville alone could fund.

The second way is we use sales tax as a source of revenue. The state of Texas collects 6.25% percent in sales tax. The remaining 2% is available for other government entities to allocate to important local services. In most of Pflugerville, a small fraction of that (one-half of one-penny per dollar) is allocated to the fire department to fund emergency services. Instead of charging you the max property tax rate we can, we use sales tax to help supplement and keep your property taxes lower.

If the campaign to take away our sales tax revenue is successful, that means we have to get the money from somewhere else - property taxes. Even charging the max property tax rate of 10 cents will not be enough to fully replace the funding the fire department would lose.  So even though your property taxes may go up, the level of your services will go down.

As our district grows and new roads, businesses, buildings, and neighborhoods are built, we are constantly evaluating how long it takes us to get a crew from the nearest fire station to you when an emergency occurs. 

Because response times are crucial in an emergency, we have strategically placed fire stations throughout the community. Staffing multiple fire stations 24/7, 365 days a year is expensive. Losing revenue means losing the ability to maintain a presence at all fire stations. 

District Staff conducted an analysis to determine the impact of losing between $10M-15M in sales tax revenue and has determined that at least two fire stations would have to close, and the staff at those locations would have to be laid off.  The stations at risk of closing are Station 3 (Kelly Lane) and Station 4 (Pflugerville Parkway).

Closing two stations and laying off firefighters means it could take us longer to get to you during an emergency.

A fire can double in size every 30 seconds it burns.  During cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR increases the likelihood of death by 10 percent.  In an emergency, every second matters.

As our city has grown, we have strategically placed fire stations throughout the community in a way that allows us to get to you quickly. Right now, it takes us approximately 8 minutes to arrive at the scene of an emergency.

If we lose the petitioned portion of the sales tax revenue we will have to close at least two fire stations and lay off firefighters. This will affect our ability to respond quickly.

Fire Chief Nicholas Perkins conducted an analysis to determine the impact of losing between $10M-15M in sales tax revenue and has determined that response times throughout our district would become significantly longer- up to 20 minutes. That means it will take us, on average, 12 minutes longer to get to you during an emergency.

When every second matters, 12 minutes can be critical.



Know the Facts


A special interest group is making incorrect statements about Travis County Emergency Services District No.2, the Pflugerville Fire Department

Below, we have provided the correct information and facts of the matter.

Incorrect Statement 1: The city of Pflugerville is the largest city in Texas without control of its own fire and emergency services.

Many cities of Pflugerville’s general size and population and larger do not fund and manage their own emergency medical services (Waco, Temple, Fort Worth to name a few).

Kyle, Texas is comparable in population and size with the city of Pflugerville with a difference of only approximately 10,000 people.  Both receive fire department services from an Emergency Services District and Kyle receives emergency medical services from an Emergency Services District.   The communities of Spring and Atascocita have identical or greater populations as Pflugerville and receive fire department services from Emergency Services Districts.

It does not appear to make financial or operational sense for the city of Pflugerville to stand up their own fire department, since they would lose the benefit from the services provided by Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 and the economies of scale provided by a larger more robust fire department than the City of Pflugerville alone could fund.  The city certainly could stand up their own fire department, but it would cost more, and likely be less capable in terms of resources and services.

In terms of “control” of the fire department, Emergency Service District No. 2 is governed by a five-member board of commissioners comprised of citizens of the District, including City of Pflugerville residents who are appointed by the County Commissioners Court. The board holds monthly meetings that are open to the public.

In addition to the opportunity for public input at the District board meetings, Travis County Commissioners, who are elected, provide an additional level of accountability since they make the District board appointments.

Incorrect Statement 2: The city of Pflugerville has been getting its emergency services from ESD2, until January 1st, 2022.  ESD2 also serves areas outside the city limits of Pflugerville.

The city of Pflugerville and the surrounding communities have been receiving fire and EMS first response from Travis County ESD 2, which is the Pflugerville Fire Department, since the District was created in 1987 and has received services from the District’s predecessor service provider, the Pflugerville Volunteer Fire Department since 1955. The District has a long tradition of serving the community and currently responds to fires, water rescue, a full range of medical calls, including low priority back pain all the way to cardiac arrest, collisions, trench rescue, confined space, hazardous material calls, and others.

Incorrect Statement 3 : On January 1, 2022, ESD2 stopped providing advanced life support services and ambulance transport services to the city of Pflugerville, yet ESD2 continues to collect property taxes and sales taxes from city residents.

Voters in the city of Pflugerville approved the collection of sales tax in 2000 to fund fire and first response services.  We continue to collect property tax and sales tax because we still provide these services.

In 2014, voters approved a sales tax increase OUTSIDE OF THE CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE to provide additional funding for the fire department and to begin training firefighters to become paramedics.  The areas where this sales tax is collected that are outside the city of Pflugerville currently receive advanced life support and ambulance transport services from ESD 2.

Two designated Advanced Life Support (ALS) fire stations are located within the city limits of Pflugerville and those first response units are fully outfitted with ALS medical gear and advanced cardiac monitors.  While ESD 2 is not the ambulance provider inside the City of Pflugerville, ESD 2 firefighter paramedics do respond to calls in the city when resources allow.  There have also been a number of times that ESD 2 ambulances have had to assist the for profit ambulance provider inside the City of Pflugerville as well.

ALS personnel are at these stations every day, all day, and whenever a Travis County Emergency Services District 2 firefighter/paramedic is on scene when one of these first response units responds within the city of Pflugerville, full ALS care is provided to all medical patients in need or services on those calls.

ESD 2 is an ALS EMS system, operating under a Texas Emergency Medical Services Provider license, number 1000964.  This means all EMS personnel, regardless of certification level, are accustomed to working on and around ambulances, ALS equipment, advanced care, have extensive training, and operate at an advanced level of knowledge and experience when compared to a fire department with a Texas EMS First Responder license.

Incorrect Statement 4: In May of 2014,  ESD2 held an election to start collecting more sales taxes to support advanced life support services.

As stated above, the 2014 election was to collect additional sales taxes OUTSIDE OF THE CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE. The areas where this sales tax is collected that are outside the city of Pflugerville currently receive advanced life support services from ESD 2.

Incorrect Statement 5: Since ESD2 stopped ambulance services, the city of Pflugerville has had to seek alternative providers for our ambulance services since January 1, 2022.

ESD 2 was forced to stop providing ambulance services within the city of Pflugerville. The City of Pflugerville imposed a franchise requirement in order to provide those services and chose not to contract with the District.

In 2013, there was a three-way plan agreed upon between ESD 2, the city of Pflugerville, and Travis County to all contribute to ALS services within our district. Travis County followed through and is now directly funding ambulance services in the unincorporated portion of our district.

The city of Pflugerville has chosen not to provide funding for ALS and ambulance services, instead pushing the total cost of the service to the individual patients by contracting with a private for-profit provider.

The city of Pflugerville had the opportunity to work with ESD 2 but chose instead to contract with a private for-profit ambulance company with a documented record of poor performance. This provider ultimately resigned from the contract within 6 weeks.

When selecting another provider, the city of Pflugerville chose again to contract with a private for-profit ambulance company instead of pursuing a partnership with ESD 2.

Learn About the Issue and Stay Informed

Here are four things you can do.

Sign up to receive email or text updates on this issue as it evolves

Talk to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to learn more

Contact your Pflugerville City Council members and your Travis County Commisioners to let them know how you feel about this issue

Get your information straight from the source by emailing questions to [email protected]

Thank you! Your involvement makes a difference.