Despite financial setbacks this year, staff at Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 said they are working to keep the property tax rate as low as possible. The ESD funds and operates the Pflugerville Fire Department, which services northeastern Travis County residents.

To balance the budget, Fire Chief Ron Moellenberg said the department would draw from reserve funds and work to lower ESD expenses.

“Our philosophy has always been to provide the highest level of service at the lowest cost to our taxpayers,” Moellenberg said in an Aug. 25 news release.

The ESD will host a public hearing at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 on its proposed a tax rate of $0.10 per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2020-21.

Senate Bill 2 was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott in June 2019. It limits how much a taxing entity can increase property tax revenue to 3.5% from the previous year before voter approval is required. The no-new-revenue rate—the rate that generates the same property tax revenue as the prior year based on the new year’s total value of taxable property—was calculated at $0.0986 per $100 valuation.

While the ESD is working to balance its FY 2020-21 budget by dipping into its reserve funds, financial projections provided to the ESD board of commissioners this summer indicated that without added revenues or service reductions, by 2025, ESD reserve funds will not be able to help balance the fire department's budget.

“Deeper cuts to our budget actually begin to translate to services that we provide," Moellenberg said. "We have worked to cut our budget for years.”

The ESD accounts for 5% of residents' tax bills. Travis County Healthcare District comprises 4%; city taxes 21%; Travis County taxes 13%; and Pflugerville ISD taxes 57%.

The meeting will be held at 201 E. Pecan St., Pflugerville, with remote participation available via Zoom.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information on tax regulations related to Senate Bill 2.