Tax increase relates to return as Pflugerville, Travis Co. ESD 2 strives to reach agreement for ambulance services

“The price is the price. There’s $2.7 million left to provide the number of ambulances needed in the city,” April Griffin said.

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — As negotiations between Pflugerville and Travis County Emergency Services District #2 Kicking off, ESD 2 is asking for the same amount — roughly $2.8 million — that residents voted against in 2021.

It’s a heat wave of a debate, a year and a half in the making.

“People voted and they said there were no new taxes,” said Pflugerville resident Anthony Nguyen.

Nguyen and Melody Ryan are just two of those Pflugerville taxpayers who opted out of spending $2.8 million to use the ESD 2 ambulance service in a 2021 election.

“They’ve had an influx of property and sales taxes to support fire and emergency services,” Ryan said. “So we felt they had sufficient income.”

Earlier this year, the City used a private ambulance service called Acadian before the two mutually terminated their contract.

Last week the Pflugerville City Council decided to resume negotiations with ESD 2, but ESD.2 commissioner April Griffin said the cost was not changing.

“So the price is the price,” Griffin said. “There’s $2.7 million left to provide the number of ambulances needed in the city. However, we’ll likely have negotiations to see how we can co-fund that, at least some of it.”

Griffin said the projected cost also includes funds to retain and retain staff in a competitive market.

“You have to make sure they don’t get wiped out,” Griffin said. “They’re not tired. I don’t want anyone showing up at my door tired and unable to provide me with quality, high-level medical services.”

If approved, Griffin said taxpayers would see a 4.5% increase, which equals $300 a year.

“When you think of $300 a year on a $300,000 house for high quality services, what is less than $30 a month?” Griffin explained.

While Griffin said the cost is low for taxpayers, some are unwilling to pay more with already rising taxes.

“We got our approvals and my house went up, 58% home ownership, but if you’re a tenant, commercial property owner, you’re struggling,” Nguyen said.

Ryan said another big concern she had with the ESD 2 was its lack of transparency.

“What worries me is that ESD 2 is not transparent with its spending,” Ryan said. “They mix the expenses of their EMS line of business with their fire line of business. Even though they separate the costs for the other types of services, they allocate them to different funds.”

Griffin said Travis County holds them accountable.

“We are ISO certified,” Griffin said. “So that means there’s auditing, tracking and we submit our numbers and our audits to the county. So we’re held accountable by the county and the county officials, our elected officials – they appoint us.”

Currently, ESD 2 provides fire and EMS services to ETJ Pflugerville.

Acadian’s contract is set to end in July.

Griffin said their proposal has been submitted and they hope to reach an agreement soon. Once the contract is negotiated, it will be presented to City Council for discussion and review.

The Town of Pflugerville issued a press release:

“The City of Pflugerville remains committed to providing high-quality, financially responsible emergency medical services. City staff have entered into negotiations with Travis County ESD No. 2. Once the contract is negotiated, it will be returned to the board municipal for discussion and review.

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