Potential Consequences

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.