Travis County Commissioners Court approved more than $600,000 in funding for emergency medical services in Pflugerville’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and other, neighboring unincorporated areas of the county on May 18.
Travis County’s Emergency Service District No. 2, primarily a fire department, currently serves about 140,000 residents in this area, which is not covered by Austin-Travis County EMS or any additional emergency medical response.
Through the agreement, Travis County will provide funding for the service January-September 2022, while the city of Pflugerville continues negotiating a long term agreement with ESD No. 2.
“I think it is going to be expensive, but we are going to have to be conservative where we can be so we can provide the services people expect from us,” County Commissioner Ann Howard said.
Travis County Executive Charles Brotherton said staff began drafting the interlocal agreement in December 2021. In the meantime, ESD No. 2 has been providing emergency medical services at no cost to the county or residents, with the expectation that it would be reimbursed through this agreement.
ESD No. 2 began providing emergency medical care to this area in 2017 due to a lack of service from ATCEMS. It funds these services through a portion of its own budget and a small sales tax, according to Charles Brotherton, Travis County executive.
However, those funding streams were not enough to cover the cost of the growing population, according to Brotherton, so in 2021, several areas covered within this region voted to establish a taxing entity, Emergency Service District 17. The cities of Pflugerville, Hutto and Round Rock, however, did not allow the item on the ballot, so areas covered by ESD No. 2 within those cities are not covered by ESD 17.
In 2022, Pflugerville contracted with a private emergency service provide, Acadian Ambulance Services, but terminated the contract in April over disputes regarding how to cover the ETJ.
The interlocal agreement passed by the Commissioners will allow ESD No. 2 to continue providing emergency medical services on par with those from ATCEMS, Brotherton said.
The agreement allows for up to four one-year renewals.