Harris County Emergency Services District 11 commissioners at a Sept. 9 meeting unanimously approved a tax rate of $0.03230 per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2021-22, down from last fiscal year’s rate of $0.03333 per $100 valuation.

The move to lower the tax rate is coming on the heels of the Sept. 1 launch of the district’s new EMS service, ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare.

According to ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare CEO Doug Hooten, the projected annual operating cost for the mobile health care system is variable because the entity has not yet had a full operating year. Additionally, the district took on debt to help fund some of the start-up costs for the new service, including roughly $10.1 million for 40 new ambulances and $2.4 million to renovate and build a dispatch center at the district’s headquarters in Spring.

ESD 11 General Counsel Regina Adams noted that while this year’s tax rate does mark a tax decrease, next year’s rate will likely be subject to change as the district gains a better idea of how much operating revenue ESD 11 Mobile Healthcare will bring in over the course of a year.

“This is an interesting conversation after all the doom and gloom we’ve heard in the last year that we’re going to be having these massive tax increases,” ESD 11 board Vice President Steve Williams said. “It’s nice to be in this position.”

ESD 11 Assistant Treasurer Kevin Brost echoed his sentiment.

“Brand new equipment, brand new buildings, the latest and greatest technology—and we’re lowering the tax rate,” Brost said.