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Hunt Commissioners Reject Emergency Services District Proposal

Hunt County Volunteer Fire Departments, such as the one serving Merit, are seeking more funding.
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Hunt County Volunteer Fire Departments, such as the one serving Merit, are seeking more funding.

Hunt County voters will not have the option to accept or reject the creation of an Emergency Services District in this November’s general election. If created, such a district would serve as a taxing entity to fund the county’s volunteer fire departments.

The Hunt County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to deny the petition for the inclusion of an Emergency Services District on November ballots. However, local volunteer fire departments should be getting a “significant increase in funding” in next year’s budget, the Greenville Herald Banner reported.

The item was defeated by a 4-1 vote. County Judge Bobby Stovall said during Tuesday’s meeting that he hadn’t been given enough information about the proposal to support it, while Precinct 1 Commissioner Mark Hutchins, who cast the dissenting vote, said he considered the information provided by local firefighters adequate, the Herald-Banner reported.

Specifically, the district would have included most of the county except the cities of Commerce, Greenville, Josephine and Royse City.

Currently, the county contributes a $2,400 monthly stipend to volunteer fire departments. Stovall supports possibly doubling that, depending on the availability of itemized budgets, the Herald-Banner said.

Hunt County Commissioners last considered a similar proposal in 2009.

Of the nine counties that border Hunt, four have Emergency Services Districts. Delta, Kaufman, Rains, and Van Zandt counties have such districts. Collin, Fannin, Hopkins, Lamar, and Rockwall counties do not.

Mark Haslett has served at KETR since 2013. Since then, the station's news operation has enjoyed an increase in listener engagement and audience metrics, as well recognition in the Texas AP Broadcasters awards.