The Chappell Hill and Meyersville Volunteer Fire Departments will give a presentation to Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday about possibly creating an Emergency Services District (ESD) for fire protection.

ESDs are local government units that operate in conjunction with county governments and have the ability to impose property taxes and/or sales and use taxes to help fund emergency services within the district.

Dustin Brown, Chappell Hill VFD captain and ESD committee chair, said this is a collaboration between the Chappell Hill and Meyersville VFDs.  He said Tuesday’s presentation will provide information to commissioners and the community about the struggles and the goals the departments have for better serving the public.

Brown said funding for the departments is not as good as it used to be, and it has affected them by not allowing them to upgrade their equipment to meet national standards.  He said, “We, as firefighters, want to do the right thing for our community, and this is an option we would like to present.”

Brown invites anyone who has questions about the proposal to submit questions to wacounty.esdone.questions@gmail.com

In other business, the court will vote on an agreement with the Washington County Chamber of Commerce regarding a new brick welcome sign on Highway 105 at the boundary of Washington and Grimes counties.  Per the proposed agreement, the Chamber will incur all costs of the gateway monument, including future maintenance.

Commissioners will also take up a resolution adopting a commercial tax phase-in agreement for 209 South Market Street in downtown Brenham.  The location is being renovated to become The Southern Folly, an entertainment and meeting venue. 

The agreement would allow the business to receive tax phase-in incentives based upon eligible property improvements and job creation.  A tax phase-in agreement was already approved by the Brenham City Council on November 2nd.  

Also on Tuesday, commissioners will:

  • Potentially go out for bids for grazing leases on approximately 8,352 acres in Tom Green County, which will be separated into three separate tracts for bidding purposes.
  • Recognize select county employees for their years of service.
  • Act on the annual and quarterly maintenance proposal between the sheriff’s office and Willbanks Contractor Support, LLC.
  • Take up a resolution authorizing contribution of funds to for the Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation Method of Distribution application administered through the Texas General Land Office.
  • Consider contracts for representation of indigent defendants for district court.
  • Consider renewing the bond for Washington County Engineer Wesley Stolz and receive a presentation of the Engineering and Development Services Department’s quarterly report.
  • Consider an oil and gas development permit for Watt Energy, LLC on Gerke Road in Precinct 3.
  • Act on a subdivision variance request for a land division fronting Longpoint Road in Precinct 3.
  • Discuss a formal notice for a temporary above-ground lay-flat water line utility installation for Magnolia Oil & Gas Operating, LLC along Schoenemann Road, Sandtown Road and Koether Road in Precinct 4.

Commissioners will meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Washington County Courthouse.

What’s your Reaction?


  1. So…what do citizens do when theres nothing left? When we are billed, charged, and taxed to the point we must cut back on food, reduce electricity use, and cut out all entertainment and that still isnt enough. Apparently citizens who earn less than the salaries they personally receive are never taken into consideration. Govt keeps growing and thus needs more money from the people which actually is the total opposite of how it was intended to work…i know im within 2 rate increases of being taxed out of my home

  2. Any taxpayer who would vote to add an additional taxing entity needs to have their sanity questioned. Any student of governmental history will know that small well-meaning entities tend to grow into huge expensive bureaucracies. As much as I love and support the fire departments and other emergency services, I would NEVER vote for an ESD and I would hope other voters would feel the same way. This is a taxing debacle waiting to happen! DON”T DO IT!

  3. Thank you Washington County for making our quiet small town county into a Harris county wanna be. Us long time residents don’t like all the outlanders who are running away from big city crime , politics, and every other problem they are running from and in turn bringing those problems here all the while taxing us out of our homes. If the county can fund the EMS every time they cry for something new then why can’t provide more to our county departments. They deserve better from our county. Shoot it down.

    1. From my understanding the people who are presenting this are Washington County natives who want to serve the community better and are not able to due sub par funding.

  4. The Washington county commissioners already help the fire departments in the county. The more training the firefighters do within the fire departments, the more money they get. Max funding in the neighborhood of $25k/year, with the check being wrote at the beginning of the year.

    Kinda funny that the two fire departments that don’t play nice with everyone else want to do a ESD.

    The local fire departments are a little behind on equipment, but mostly due to grants not being rewarded for such things, from the forest service, etc.

    The biggest problem is finding the volunteers to do these such activities, and not just to go to fires. Folks to come and work fundraising activities, stock trucks back after a major call. These activities are just as big.

    Doing an ESD is not the answer, as the funding would take years to finally make their way back to the ESD commission. Yes, the ESD’s machines are definitely an eye catcher. Like cypress, and Harris county. But definitely not the answer here in Washington County.

    1. If you think $25,000 is enough to fund a fire department then my friend I’m sorry to say you do not know what it is like to run a fire department. From my understanding those two departments respond to everything that neighboring departments call them for and do not complain. So I don’t understand your “not playing nice.” An ESD is probably the answer because the counties hands are tied with the budget they have currently. If these departments can receive better funding and turn around and be like ESD 48 and other successful ESD’s I think they should.

      1. My friend, these departments that are requesting the ESD do respond and don’t complain. That is true.

        Along with the 25k the county, each department can do their own fundraising efforts. Donors can give what they can, when they can. So is 25k all they get? No, I sure hope not.

        Establishing an ESD, would kill your local county fire departments as they are now, real quick.

    2. Let me ask you a question! A new 🚒 cost anywhere from 500K to a million dollars. A brush truck runs anywhere between 120K-350K. The packs the firefighters wear to fight fires are 13K a piece and HAVE to be updated because the company’s won’t touch them after a certain age. The gear that the fire fighters wear is 5K a piece. So let’s say you have 7-10 firefighters that need gear, that’s another 35K-50K. The 25k the county gives those departments is enough to keep the doors open and that’s about it. Also to touch on the point of not getting anymore volunteers, we are growing faster and the only option for these departments to handle the increase in call volume which from what I can tell are the 2 highest call volume departments in the county is to hire people because nobody wants to volunteer anymore. These fine gentleman that serve as firefighters want to do and will do what’s best for the community and unfortunately I don’t believe 25k allows them to best serve the community the way they need to. It’s not a matter of IF they go ESD it’s a matter of when and I stand behind this and them.

      1. Yes, a fire truck is expensive. The county (if done correctly) will help offset some of those cost. I know $30k for a $500k+ truck isn’t much. With fundraising efforts, and not picking the most expensive option, ends can meet.

        Yes, Chappell Hill VFD is very busy. And the area they respond to is growing rapidly with homes and population.

        Yes, I think Chappell Vill VFD may have the 2nd highest call volume in the county. But that is just me assuming.

        Yes, these men and women that spend their time and hard earned money responding to calls, etc. are all fine folks.

        If I believe, there is an association that the county fire departments have. They pay dues to be a member of such association. If a fire department is in need of something (that the cost is more that that said department can’t afford). The idea is the department goes to the association, then the association goes to the county for the financial resources. Has that ever happened? Could have, but don’t think it has. Again I could be wrong. And if it hasn’t, what is the real purpose of this such association? Other than not accomplishing very much, if any, at bi-monthly meetings.

        So what is your question you want to ask?

  5. DONT DO IT!!! ESD are nothing but trouble!! Eventually your entire company will no longer be owned by the volunteers!! This is nothing but big government taking over!! Don’t do it!!! Colorado County just voted and turned there’s down…….

    1. How is big government involved if the ESD is ran by locals and people who live in that district?

  6. An ESD would be a new property tax – it’s to be added to your annual tax bill along with local schools, counties and Blinn.

    Please can the Spectator or someone find out if any of this proposed Emergency Service (properly tax) District money to be spent to fund the struggling Air Ambulance program?


    1. the ESD proposed will be only funding the Fire Dept’s mentioned and cannot go anywhere else. this would be managed by a board not the commissioners. the local VFD’s are so far behind on upgrades and equipment it is unreal. this is needed and honestly probably long overdue.

  7. With all of the growth in that area they need an ESD. And the county needs to agree to do this now before they get behind the 8 ball like the city is.

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