The virtual town hall comes as financial projections anticipate a depletion in the department's reserves by fiscal year 2023-24.
"Projections show that ESD 2 will not have enough resources to continue providing enhanced emergency medical services, including advanced life support and ambulance transport, at its current levels," according to Sept. 29 department news release.
The meeting will include discussions from both ESD commissioners and senior staff. Leadership initially considered but have since rejected a proposal to integrate the department as a for-profit ambulance service, citing concerns regarding a potential "degradation of service," per the release.
Four options have been presented for consideration in addressing the financial projections:
- Do nothing and continue at current staff levels and stations available until services are not feasible.
- Remove ESD No. 2 ambulance services within portions of the district's service areas, assuming the Austin/Travis County EMS can provide coverage in those regions.
- Seek emergency medical services from other governments.
- Work alongside a potential new ESD, as decided by voters.
Under the fourth scenario, ESD No. 2 would continue to oversee fire protection services as the Pflugerville Fire Department, while the new ESD would fund EMS and ambulance services through a contractual agreement with ESD No. 2. This option comes following a petition established by Pflugerville firefighters Sept. 11 to establish a new ESD.
If a new ESD is approved by voters, it would be limited by constitutional law to a maximum tax rate of $0.10 per $100 valuation, per the release. Under current projections, continued EMS funding—which includes ambulance transport and advanced life support—could be generated "with an additional tax effort of 6.5 cents per $100 of assessed value," per the release. Based on the average taxable value of a property within ESD No. 2, listed at $263,209, that fund increase would approximate an additional $15 per month for the average homeowner.
“The Pflugerville Fire Department is committed to providing the highest quality fire protection and emergency medical response,” Pflugerville Fire Department Chief Ron Moellenberg said in the release. “We want to invite all residents to the Virtual Town Hall. We can inform residents about ESD 2’s options and hear from them how they’d like us to meet those challenges.”