After nearly a year of work, Pearland City Council voted for the city to enter into an interlocal agreement with Emergency Service Districts 4 and 5 at its May 20 meeting.
“I’d like to take a little victory lap for the city on these next two matters. Council made a policy decision that we are no longer going to be providing our services to our unincorporated areas without any compensation,” City Manager Clay Pearson said. “This maintains the status quo in terms of service, but the city gets some compensation.”
After the city released areas in the extraterritorial jurisdiction from annexation in 2018, the city began discussing the need for an emergency service district to receive partial compensation for its fire and emergency medical services in the city’s ETJ.
The agreement calls for both ESDs to issue a $0.10 tax rate per $100 of property value and to pay the city what is available once a budget is set. As Council Member Gary Moore pointed out, the city will be getting what is available to it from an ESD by state law.
The city will begin to receive money from the ESDs in fiscal year 2021, Pearson said.
“Great job on getting this all done. I know we went through lawsuits … and just a lot of back and forth with different areas in town, so good job to staff on actually completing this and getting everything wrapped up the way it should be,” Council Member Derrick Reed said. “Hopefully the citizens can appreciate it … and move on.”
The council voted 6-0 to enter an agreement with ESDs 4 and 5 with Council Member Tony Carbone absent during the meeting.
The city also voted to stop providing fire and emergency services to the Harris County portion of the ETJ, with the exception of Tom Bass Park, which council and staff said is used by Pearland residents.
The city received a request from Harris County to continue to provide the service to that portion of the ETJ free of cost and indefinitely, Pearson said.
“With the rest of the areas, I am sympathetic to the fact that they are not going to have anybody that covers them, but I don’t know how to be fair to all of the citizens that spoke passionately against the annexation, which we eventually rescinded, and to all the citizens who fought hard to get an ESD in the Brazoria County ETJ,” Council Member Trent Perez said. “We can certainly try to continue to work with them, but at this point, we are moving forward with the ESDs in Brazoria County to contribute. It would not be fair to them or to all the people who put time and effort into this issue for us to extend free service to the Harris County ETJ.”
The council voted to offer emergency services to the park but not the rest of the Harris County ETJ 5-0, with Carbone absent from the meeting and Perez absent from the chamber.