GRANITE SHOALS — Voters in the proposed Emergency Services District No. 3 approved the measure Nov. 8, 174-105, creating a new funding source for fire services.
"By its passing, the Burnet County commissioners can now appoint a five-member board that will oversee the district," said Austin Stanphill, chief of the Granite Shoals Fire Department. "They'll have to get some training. But then they'll look at what fire services they want to provide and determine the best way to provide those services."
The measure went before voters during the general election after supporters collected the required number of signatures and presented the petition to the commissioners during the summer.
ESD No. 3 is a taxing entity that can levy up to 10 cents per $100 valuation of a property to support fire protection. The district includes a swath of southwest Burnet County outside the incorporated portions of Granite Shoals and Highland Haven.
Most of the area had previously been served by the Fire Department.
Earlier this fall, the City Council approved a measure that would require subdivisions and property owner associations outside the city limits to contract with the city for fire services.
Officials said the move was needed to recoup costs associated with responding to emergencies outside the city where property owners didn't pay taxes to Granite Shoals.
Stanphill said those contracts will continue until ESD No. 3 is operational.
At that time, the emergency services district board can determine how it wants to offer fire protection to the residents, the chief said.
"We hope they'll look at us (GSFD) to contract with," he said. "But the decision will be theirs. And they'll be the ones setting the tax rate within the district."
ESD No. 3 doesn't include the cities of Granite Shoals or Highland Haven — but it does cover their extraterritorial jurisdictions, officials said.
Voters also approved an ESD for the Marble Falls area, which means Burnet County now has eight such districts.