Questions and Answers About Your Public Safety

Q: Who provides our fire protection?
A: Medina County Emergency Services District No. 6 is the grassroots government responsible for fire protection in the heart of Medina County, including the City of Hondo and the City of Yancey. The ESD is overseen by five commissioners, all residents of the district, appointed by the Medina County Commissioners Court. They are Larry Hoffman, Mark Blythe, Jo Anne Evans, Rebecca Rouse and Sandy Wilson.

Q: What is an emergency services district?
A: Emergency services districts are political subdivisions of the state of Texas, like school districts or municipalities. An emergency services district (ESD) is created by the voters to provide fire protection, emergency medical response or both. There are 312 ESDs in more than 90 counties in Texas.

Q: Where does our local ESD get its money?
A: MCESD6 levies a property tax of seven-and-a-half cents per $100 property value. In MCESD6, the average home is valued at $96,976, and the owner of that average home pays $72.73 a year – about $6 a month – to know that well-trained, well-equipped firefighters will be at the door in minutes if there’s an emergency. Under the state constitution, the tax rate of emergency services districts is capped at 10 cents per $100 in property

Q: Why is the ESD calling a sales tax election?
A: Faced with the need to respond more quickly to calls for help, the emergency services district wants to position fire stations at more advantageous locations and better serve its residents north and south of Hwy. 173, away from railroad tracks in Hondo. Analysis of the location of emergencies and the times it takes to respond to those emergencies shows that a station south of the railroad tracks would improve response. MINUTES COUNT in an emergency. Fire spreads rapidly, particularly in the wildland urban interface where homes are close to open pastureland. The ESD also hopes to use additional revenue to prepare to fill gaps in the ability of volunteers to respond to emergencies. With an aging population and time-stressed commuters away from the area for long stretches, many ESDs in Texas are adding paid staff to fill the gaps in coverage and assure

Q: How much money will the sales tax increase provide?
A: It’s estimated that the additional sales tax will generate about $100,000 a year in revenue.

Q: Will this affect my property taxes?
A: No. Medina County ESD No. 6 is NOT asking for a property tax increase. Sales taxes are separate from property tax. The State of Texas imposes a 6.25 percent sales tax across the state. Local jurisdictions can levy a total of two percent; under Texas law, then, the maximum sales tax that can be collected is 8.25 percent.

The City of Hondo is already at the maximum, and its citizens are not eligible to vote in MCESD6 tax election. The sales tax, commissioners believe, will reduce the need to increase property taxes. Renters, visitors to the district and others who don’t pay property taxes will help pay for the protection they receive, and the burden won’t just fall on property taxpayers. When MCESD6 firefighters respond to a traffic accident on US90, they don’t ask if you live within the district.