Travis County Emergency Services District No. 17's proposed annexation of the city of Pflugerville and its extraterritorial jurisdiction was met with opposition from Pflugerville City Council members.

In spite of that opposition, the district's Board of Commissioners voted to hold elections Nov. 2 to allow voters to decide if they want to be incorporated into the newly created district.

During the board's Aug. 16 meeting, commissioners held two public hearings—one to consider annexing the extraterritorial jurisdiction and one to consider annexing the city into its taxation boundaries.

Specifically, the district board approved motions to hold an election in November to annex the portions of the city and its ETJ that are within Emergency Services District No. 2, which is the district responsible for the creation of ESD 17 through initiation of a May 2021 election.

Pflugerville officials opted to not be a part of the May election, and have since been pursuing alternative options for emergency services within the city.

Because Pflugerville officials opted not to be a part of ESD 17, the district's boundaries mainly encompass the Wells Branch area in North Austin.

Howard Katz, an attorney representing ESD 17, explained that chapter 775 of the state of Texas Health and Safety Code allows the district to call an election without permission from Pflugerville City Council.

Katz said the Nov. 2 election will occur in separate parts. Residents of Pflugerville's extraterritorial jurisdiction will vote on whether they want their area to be annexed, as will residents of Pflugerville.

"The people of Pflugerville; their votes are tabulated separately," Katz said. "The ETJ people—their votes are tabulated separately, and the ESD people are tabulated separately."

Residents of ESD 17 will be able to vote for or against annexation of the ETJ as well as the city.

However, if residents of Pflugerville vote against the expansion, then the vote from ESD 17 residents becomes moot, and the same goes for residents of the ETJ, Katz said., giving residents of each portion being considered for annexation control of their own destinies.

Representatives for ESD 2 issued a news release Aug. 13 stating that even though ESD 17 will not start collecting tax dollars until January 2022, economic projections show its financial need to be at $0.045 per $100 of property valuation, amounting to $120 annually for property valued at $300,000.

During the Aug. 16 ESD 17 meeting, Pflugerville City Council Member Doug Weiss spoke before the Board of Commissioners and said he is opposed to the district's motion to consider an annexation of the city of Pflugerville and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

"On this particular issue, this proposal, while in good faith, neglects the reality of the changing environment of Pflugerville," Weiss said.

Also in attendance at the Aug. 16 meeting, Pflugerville Council Member David Rogers said he did not believe the district is acting in good faith as it considers the annexation.

After looking into the financial needs of ESD No. 2, Rogers said the district often greatly overestimates how much money it needs for the emergency services it provides to Pflugerville. He asked the board if ESD 17 really needs the additional revenues it will get through the proposed expansion.

"ESD 2 has plenty of money to provide all of the services they have been providing," Rogers said. "They don't need another dime. The creation of this ESD [No. 17] was unnecessary, and this expansion is triple taxation."

However, those in favor of the expansion also spoke during public comment Aug. 16, citing a need for continued emergency medical services within Pflugerville and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Trevor Stokes, a captain for the Pflugerville Fire Department, said statements asserting that ESD 2 has plenty of money to continue providing services without increasing taxes for the city's residents do not come from experts.

"The fire department is the highest rated service in the city of Pflugerville," Stokes said. "We are very proud of that distinction."