The Gonzales County Emergency Services District No.1 (ESD) Board of Directors unanimously voted to propose a new tax rate of $0.10 per $100 of valuation. The proposed rate is higher than last year’s rate of .0506, as well as, the 2019 prepared effective rate of .0407 and rollback rate of .0439.
The board proposed this rate after discussing several other rates and determining the $0.10 was needed to fit the budget. With the rate exceeding the effective and rollback rates, the proposed rate is subject to two public hearings, as well as a rollback election if petition requirements are fulfilled. The board picked Aug. 29 and Sept. 5 as its public hearing dates. Both were scheduled for 4 p.m.
To trigger a rollback election, specific requirements need to be met depending on the rate itself. According to Gonzales County Tax Assessor-Collector Crystal Cedillo, “if the tax rate adopted imposed $5 million or more in maintenance and operating taxes, 7 percent of registered voters in the county (would need to petition.) If the tax rate adopted imposes less than 5 million in maintenance and operating taxes, 10 percent of registered voters (are needed.)”
As of Monday, Aug. 12, there are over 12,000 registered voters in Gonzales County.
If a rollback election is triggered and the ESD loses, its tax rate drops down to the rollback rate. The ESD would also be required to cover costs of the election. Knowing the risks, the board opted to move forward with the proposed rate.
“Whenever we have a hearing, and people want to show up, I think the people we need to have here are all the rank and file EMS,” ESD board member Commie Hisey said. “I want whoever opposes this (tax rate) to look them (EMS workers) in the eye.”
Other news from the meeting: