Reeves County residents could see their first full-time fire department and a fully operational EMS department after the May elections.
One of the largest counties in the Lone Star State continues to grow thanks to the oil boom, meaning a rise in emergencies.
“Some cases, our calls have doubled or even tripled. And so it’s a significant amount of time they’re away from their work,” said City Manager Seth Sorensen.
The county heavily relies on three volunteer fire departments and one contracted EMS, based of out Pecos.
City officials say each department is being stretched too thin with all of the emergency calls.
“We intend to have them dispersed around the county. We should have reduced response times and improve the level service,” said Sorensen.
ESD 1 and 2 would create an Emergency Services District in charge of starting the county’s first full-time fire department and it’s own ambulance and medical service.
An ESD board would also be established. They would take the appropriate measures to decide a property and sales tax rate.
“Property evaluations going up significantly. This should be able to support itself solely off property tax,” said Sorensen.
The city says the rate could stand somewhere between two and three cents. They say the lower end rate of a 10 cent cap is thanks in part to the revenue generated by the oil boom.
Mayor Pro-tem Gerald Tellez says not have to contract an EMS would allow those saved funds to go elsewhere.
“That’s one million dollars that we won’t have to budget for every year. We can do many things with that: water, sewer, infrastructure,” said Tellez.
Tellez adds the full-time staff will make an immediate impact on both the county and city.
“It is needed. It is wanted, and hopefully, people will go out there and vote,” said Tellez.
As a way to save money, the city says the ESD board would oversee both emergency districts. The board would also look to hire individuals who could be certified in both departments.
Election day is on May 4.