ESD 17 proposal to appear on some northeast Travis County May ballots

Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said it would be "patently unfair" to deny a petition signed by nearly 5,000 residents. (Screenshot courtesy Travis County Commissioners Court)
Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said it would be "patently unfair" to deny a petition signed by nearly 5,000 residents. (Screenshot courtesy Travis County Commissioners Court)

Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said it would be "patently unfair" to deny a petition signed by nearly 5,000 residents. (Screenshot courtesy Travis County Commissioners Court)

Following Pflugerville City Council's Feb. 3 vote not to include a new emergency services district proposal in the May election, Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously called for the item to be included on some May ballots.

Neither the city of Pflugerville nor its extraterritorial jurisdiction will vote on the proposed district overlay following council's Feb. 3 vote.

Voters in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Austin, Manor and Taylor will vote on the proposed overlay in May, while the cities of Pflugerville, Round Rock and Hutto did not include the proposal on each city's respective ballot.

If Travis County ESD 17 is approved by voters in May, emergency medical services and related transport will transition away from Travis County ESD 2—which oversees the Pflugerville Fire Department—and relocate to ESD 17.

Ahead of Pflugerville City Council's Feb. 3 vote, the city hired consulting firm AP Triton to explore additional EMS funding options. AP Triton is expected to deliver an analysis of its finding to council in late spring.


Council did not rule out the potential for a future ESD overlay election down the road or contracting with ESD 17 for EMS, if approved. However, council members said they wanted a full scope of funding options prior to an election call.

The Pflugerville Professional Firefighters Association created a petition calling for the proposed district overlay in September, which gained more than 4,700 signatures. The petition followed financial projections released by ESD 2 that showed a depletion in general fund reserves by fiscal year 2023-24.

Travis County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said calling for the election is not the "final bite of the apple" for cities such as Pflugerville. If ESD 17 is approved by voters and created, the city of Pflugerville can still elect to contract with the new ESD for EMS.

However, Travillion said it would be "patently unfair" to deny a petition signed by nearly 5,000 residents.

“The bar was 100, but 4,700 people spoke to a desire for this to move forward," he said.

Commissioner Brigid Shea said the city of Pflugerville chose not to allow its voters a say in this election. Travis County is not under an obligation to do the same to its voters, she said.

“ESD 17 is not taking itself out of Pflugerville. Pflugerville is not allowing it to even function there, if the election is successful," she said.

For more background information on the proposed ESD 17 district overlay, click here.