Cypress Creek EMS will be unable to serve the 560,000 residents that live in its service area unless Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 pays $2.5 million of owed payments on Dec. 17, according to a Dec. 9 press release.

CCEMS CEO Wren Nealy said the withheld payments prevent them from continuing operations.

“Commissioners’ failure to prioritize the emergency care to residents of District 11, and its efforts to put any of our employees out of work right before the holidays after a year of pandemic-driven epic hardships, is unconscionable to us,” Nealy said. “But we will never stop fighting for the people we serve or our employees.”

ESD 11 made an agreement with the Harris County Emergency Corp. to answer 911 calls in the district’s 177-square-mile coverage area. Nealy said the organization is not prepared to take on the district’s calls.

The ESD 11 board members and Regina Adams, who represents ESD 11 from law firm Radcliffe Bobbitt Adams Polley PLLC, did not respond to requests for comments. However, in the press release, ESD 11 Commissioner Fred Grundmeyer condemned the district’s actions.

“I, ESD 11 Commissioner Fred Grundmeyer do not support or endorse the board’s actions that apparently will cause CCEMS to cease operations very soon,” Grundmeyer said.

The district began to withhold payments in June over financial documents and has continued since. CCEMS recently won a case against the district, preventing it from withholding any additional payments over unresolved insurance claims and from accelerating the 360-day termination period of the contract between the two entities.