If you ever paid a little attention to your property taxes you would see you are paying taxes to several authorities. Depending if you are within or outside city limits this will affect who you are paying taxes to. In our area, we pay taxes to Emergency Services District no 3 (ESD3). ESD3 is the taxing authority that provides fire and EMS services for a wide area of Brazoria County. For the folks residing in the Manvel city limits, your city property taxes are not used for Fire and EMS. Your ESD3 taxes pay for those services. The ESD raises a little over $5 million a year in taxes and you know just like me this number will keep increasing at a fast pace with all the projected growth in our area. In Manvel, specifically, the money is used to pay for 4 full-time EMS personals (2 ambulances staffed) and 3 firefighters (soon to be 4) around the clock. It also pays for the purchase and maintenance of equipment for the Manvel Volunteer Fire Dept.
One little known secret is we used to have 2 staffed ambulances at the EMS station on Masters Road by the post office. Since January 1st, one of these ambulances was moved to the Fire Station in Lakes of Savannah. The staffed fire truck at Manvel’s station 1, also on Masters Road, will cover fire calls for that area too. What changed?? Brazoria County Municipal Utility District 21 and 22 (BCMUD), which are in Lakes of Savannah, used to receive service from Pearland Fire Dept (MUD 21 and 22 are part of Pearland ETJ) until December 31st, 2019. The MUDs were not happy with the service provided so they signed a contract with ESD3. It is good to know that MUD 21 and 22 are not in the ESD3 taxing district so no tax money is received from them. A stipend is paid by each household to help cover the cost of having an ambulance in their subdivision. At this point, it is difficult to know if the money covers 100% of the cost of service or the taxpayers are subsidizing Fire/EMS coverage in MUD 21/22.
The Citizens of Manvel and Iowa Colony are the biggest losers of this change. We used to have 2 ambulances on Masters Road but now we only have one. If this ambulance is on a call, the next closest ambulance is in Lakes of Savannah. That is a long way from Manvel and parts of Iowa Colony. Initially, when the agreement was signed between the ESD and the MUDs an ambulance was supposed to be added, not moved. Since the ESD is a taxing authority, they hold meetings open to the public and are typically once a month. Unfortunately, few people know/care about these meetings. The next meeting is tonight at 6:30 pm at Manvel Fire Station 1 located at 6931 Masters Road in Manvel. It might be good for citizens to show up to these meetings so there is more accountability on how the tax money is spent. You can find more about the ESD by clicking here.