Dozens of citizens and first responders showed up at Southview Baptist Church in Manvel on Aug. 21 for a town hall meeting with the commissioners of Brazoria County Emergency Service District No. 3.
The town hall was set up to answer concerns that citizens voiced during a previous ESD meeting soon after the absorption of Manvel EMS by the district.
ESD 3 Executive Director and Manvel EMS Director Dave Ferguson started by giving the public an overview of what an ESD is, how it functions, the history of the district and how Manvel EMS has changed with absorption by the district.
An ESD is a political subdivision of the state of Texas that is largely independent of the county and is established as the authority for fire and EMS services within its boundaries, Ferguson explained. They are subject to limited county oversight by the fact that ESD commissioners are appointed by county commissioners. Brazoria County ESD No. 3 was created in 2004 by approval of the voters.
Prior to the establishment of the ESD, local agencies funded their operations through donations, fundraisers and county assistance.
ESD’s can also act as direct providers of emergency services, Ferguson said.
Brazoria County ESD No. 3 absorbed Manvel EMS on July 9 and became a direct provider, leading to many questions among citizens.
“Prior to July 9, the district contracted with Manvel EMS. July 9, Brazoria County ESD 3 absorbed Manvel EMS. That means they absorbed every one of its staff members,” Ferguson said, explaining that staff members perform everything that they did prior to the absorption in addition to new district functions.
“The benefit to the district was the addition of the administrative staff, but the other thing we get from the district is it added all the EMS revenue that they didn’t have before is now being added into that process,” Ferguson told the public, “It does help pay some of the administrative staff and we’re hoping it will be a benefit to add that revenue stream on top of your tax dollars.”
“We have a financial responsibility with yall’s tax dollars that we have to look at every single day, as well as all the political functions, building functions, all the things that we did before we took over Brazoria County ESD 3 — before Brazoria County ESD 3 took us over, we still have to provide all of those — those job duties that those folks did before,” Ferguson said.