TRAVIS COUNTY ESD NO. 2/PFLUGERVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT FACES FOUR OPTIONS AS FINANCIAL CRISIS LOOMS

Friday, July 31st, 2020

PFLUGERVILLE, JULY 31, 2020 – As Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 begins crafting
a FY2021 budget for the Pflugerville Fire Department, ESD 2 Commissioners discussed four options to
address a looming financial crisis.
At the Board of Commissioners July 30 meeting, Fire Chief Ron Moellenberg reviewed previous
projections that show ESD 2 will not have enough resources to meet the need of the rapidly growing
area served by the Pflugerville Fire Department. [Click Here]
By FY2024, the projections show, the ESD will deplete its reserves unless it finds an alternate
revenue source or reduces the level of protection it currently provides.
In his discussion with commissioners, Moellenberg said that senior fire department officials had
identified four options to meet the financial crisis. Officials considered, but rejected, the idea of
integrating a for-profit ambulance service because of the significant risk of degradation of service that
could affect health outcomes.
The available options include:
(1) Doing nothing and allowing services to deteriorate as the Fire Department cannot afford to
add new stations and staff to keep up with growth, especially along and east of the
burgeoning SH130 corridor. As a result, Fire Department staff and equipment will become
strained, and the time it takes to get to emergencies will increase.
(2) Eliminating ambulance service within portions of the district, allowing Austin/Travis County
EMS to resume service in those areas. ESD 2 added ambulance units in 2017 with the
original intent to augment Austin/Travis County EMS. The two ambulances that ATCEMS
operated in the district were often diverted elsewhere in the county. After ATCEMS relocated
its ambulances outside the district, ESD 2 now operates five ambulances around-the-clock.
(3) Seeking EMS funding from other governments.
(4) Working with a new ESD that would be created by voters. Under this scenario, the current
ESD 2 would continue to provide fire protection as the Pflugerville Fire Department. The
new ESD, contiguous with ESD 2, would fund EMS and ambulance service through a contract
with ESD 2. Residents of the area are exploring the possibility of petitioning for a creation
election.
If approved by voters, the new ESD would be limited to the constitutional maximum tax rate
of 10 cents per $100 of property value. In ESD 2, the 2020 average taxable value of
properties with a homestead exemption is $263,209. If the new ESD is created, the owner of
that average-value home could pay $263.21 a year (about $22 a month) at the maximum tax
rate for EMS through the new ESD, including ambulance transport service.
“The Pflugerville Fire Department is committed to providing the highest quality fire protection
and emergency medical response,” Moellenberg assured ESD 2 Commissioners. “The Board of
Commissioners and district staff have always been committed to return the greatest value to
taxpayers.”
The ESD 2 Board will continue budget discussions. Adoption of a budget and setting a property
tax rate is expected in September.

For more information, please visit www.pflugervillefire.org