Montgomery County ESD 10 voters pass 1 percent sales and use tax increase

Updated 10:25 p.m. CST



According to unofficial results, the voters in Montgomery County Emergency Services District 10 voted to approve the passage of a 1 percent increase in the sales and use tax to help better fund the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department by a narrow margin.



There were 2,017 votes, or 50.63 percent, in favor of the proposition compared to 1,967 votes, or 49.37 percent, in opposition.



"I would like to thank the community for their support and for helping to provide the resources we need to help support the community," MVFD Fire Chief Gary Vincent said. "We think this will be a wise investment and benefit the community for many years to come. I also see this as an opportunity to further educate the community on the value of investing in the fire department to help reduce insurance burdens, spur economic development in the community and improve the level of service they receive in both fire and EMS protection."



Texas state law caps sales and use tax at 8.25 percent, Vincent said. Both the city of Magnolia and the Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District have a sales and use tax of 8.25 percent and will not see an increase in sales tax as a result of the proposition. All other areas within ESD 10 have a sales and use tax of 6.25 percent and will have those rates raised to 7.25 percent as a result of the passage of the proposition.



All results are unofficial until canvassed.



Posted 7:45 p.m. CST



After early returns, 52 percent of Montgomery County voters are in favor of increasing the sales and use tax by one percent within Montgomery County Emergency Services District 10 to help fund the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department.



Voters against the increase in the sales and use tax make up for 48 percent of the vote with 2,539 votes counted.



The fire department is funded through ESD 10 and residents who live within the district pay 10 cents per $100 of property valuation, which is used to fund MVFD. Due to state law, funding is capped at 10 cents, so the MVFD has no way of increasing funding except through an increase in the sales and use tax, MVFD Fire Chief Gary Vincent said. The one-percent increase in sales and use tax will go toward helping fund the fire department, and the department can use those revenues as it sees fit.



"Our biggest need right now is more firefighters to man our trucks and stations," Vincent said. "The money generated from this proposed increase in the sales and use tax will go to hiring more part-time and volunteer firefighters. We have six fire stations and three under construction. We only have enough manpower to staff four of those stations full time."



Texas state law caps sales and use tax at 8.25 percent, Vincent said. Both the city of Magnolia and the Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District have a sales and use tax of 8.25 percent and will not see an increase in sales tax as a result of the proposition. All other areas within ESD 10 have a sales and use tax of 6.25 percent and, if passed, the proposition will raise those rates to 7.25 percent.



If the proposition is passed, however, it would have an adverse affect on cities and municipalities looking to grow and expand, Magnolia Mayor Todd Kana said.



"This proposition, if passed, will completely cripple the city from this point forward in terms of getting a big-box store and future annexation," he said. "We have deals on the table that will be crippled if this passes. It basically destroys any future growth or expansion for the city of Magnolia."



All results are unofficial until canvassed.

By David Pollan
David has been with Community Impact Newspaper since July 2013. He has been the editor for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition since November 2014 and prior to that he was the editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. Before joining Community Impact, David worked for eight years in Denver at various newspapers as a copy editor, reporter, designer and editor. David covers business, transportation, development, education and local government.


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