After a first reading, Pflugerville City Council has made moves establishing a franchise requirement to provide emergency medical services within city limits.

The approval of the first reading of the ordinance came during council's Sept. 28 meeting.

In part, the ordinance states "City Council hereby finds and determines that is prudent, reasonable and in the best interests of its citizens to require all emergency services provides apply for and be granted a franchise in order to provide emergency services within the City’s jurisdictional limits."

The amended ordinance clarifies that all calls for EMS originating in the city must be handled by Pflugerville's first responders and its contracted EMS provider.

Furthermore, it will be illegal for outside EMS or nonemergency ambulance transfer services to operate within the city with a few exceptions.

Aid rendered during a catastrophe that overwhelms city resources, transporting a patient from outside the city into city limits and transporting a patient from within city limits to a location outside the city are all exceptions to the amended ordinance.

"This is a stepping stone to setting up a city-owned or city-licensed EMS service," Council Member David Rogers said. "The city could set up a city-owned service or contract with an independent company or pursue a public partnership with an entity such as Austin Travis County EMS."

The action from City Council further complicates a legal battle between the city and Travis County Emergency Services District No. 17, which called an election for Nov. 2 to annex the city of Pflugerville and its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

"This doesn't directly impact the election, but it certainly makes the case for ESD 17 more difficult to make," Rogers said.

Pflugerville officials filed a lawsuit to block the election and ratified the decision during a special meeting Aug. 18, but a district court judge dismissed the suit one month later.

During the Sept. 28 meeting, council also voted to appeal the decision from the Travis County 200th Civil District Court, and Rogers said the appeal should be submitted the Third Court of Appeals in Austin within a week.