Members of the Chappell Hill and Meyersville Volunteer Fire Departments hosted a town hall meeting on Thursday to present information to the public about a proposed emergency services district (ESD).

Chappell Hill Volunteer Fire Department
Captain and President Dustin Brown shares
information during a town hall meeting on
Thursday about how a proposed emergency
services district would support the Chappell
Hill and Meyersville VFDs.

Several dozen residents came to the First Baptist Church of Chappell Hill to learn more and ask questions about the ESD, which would raise funding for the fire departments via an ad valorem tax of no more than 10 cents per $100 valuation on residents inside their service territories, not including the City of Brenham’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.  The departments are collecting petition signatures with the intent of bringing the proposition before voters this November.

Dustin Brown, Chappell Hill VFD captain and president, said the goal is to have the ESD become a reliable source of funding for the departments to put toward equipment upgrades and recruit new members.  The funding would take the place of what the departments receive from the county, but they could continue to host fundraisers as a supplement.

Thursday’s presentation was similar in structure to the one made to county commissioners in December, though this one had updated financial figures and data on call volume. 

The proposed boundaries of the
emergency services district for the Chappell
Hill and Meyersville Volunteer Fire Departments.
The area of the ESD would align with the service
area of the two departments, not including the City
of Brenham's extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Based on the approximate property value inside the two department’s territories of $1.05 billion and a tax rate of 10 cents per $100, the anticipated revenue collected – with ag exemptions – would be roughly $1.05 million annually.  The yearly revenue may change based on shifting property valuations.  A sales and use tax could also be implemented, but the ESD would need to be in place for a year before that can be considered. 

One question asked during the presentation was why is now the right time to implement an ESD, and is it the right move altogether.  Brown answered that with rising equipment costs, higher call volume and lower volunteer numbers, the danger of having to close is a very real possibility if the departments are not proactive.

The ESD would be governed by a five-member board that is appointed by the county and whose members would live inside the district.  The ESD would establish a budget each year to fund the short-term needs of the fire departments and work toward their long-term goals.  It would be required at the end of each year to perform an independent audit that would be presented to the county for review.  The ESD’s board members can be compensated, but the compensation would only be to recompensate for costs associated with serving on the board, such as travel and training, and it would have to be voted on by the board itself.

Should the departments receive at least 100 signatures on their petition, it can be brought to county commissioners for their consideration to call an election.  Only residents who are registered to vote within the proposed district boundaries would be able to participate in the election. 

Another town hall will be held on Thursday, June 27th at 6:30 p.m. at Cowboy Church of Brenham.

Anyone who would like to know more about the ESD can contact the ESD committee at

The full PowerPoint presentation from Thursday's meeting can be downloaded here.

What’s your Reaction?


  1. Chappell Hill resident here thinking a 900% increase in our CHVFD annual budget might be bitting off more than the average taxpayer is willing to swallow. Going from a $150K a year budget to over 1 million dollars a year, every year in perpetuity, seems really excessive. Adding paid positions in an unincorporated town our size is kooky. If this limps onto the ballot come November, it’ll be a resounding no from my neighbors and I. No one loves a fireman more than I but that’s a huge budget increase and a huge burden for homeowners in today’s economy.

  2. The idea of voting for yet another taxing body that will raise my taxes yet again is something I will never vote for. We live in a time of record inflation, grocery and gas prices are incredibly high, and they want me to MORE TAXES!! I would never ever vote for this and think that anyone else who does is crazy!

  3. As a retired volunteer with over 20 years in the fire service in more than one jurisdiction (due to job relocation) I must say that volunteer departments have served (and continue to serve) this country very well. There are over twenty nine thousand fire departments nationwide with about twenty thousand being volunteer departments. Although Chappell Hill is growing, there is no need for additional taxation and paid firefighters. Unfortunately this may be a group of people with a different agenda than what it appears….be sure to fact check. Perhaps instead of attempting to have taxpayers buy the way out of budget issues with new taxes and paid staff, these departments should either: 1) elect leaders who understand how to recruit, effectively raise money for volunteer organizations and other things that make a VFD thrive OR 2) If some/all of the leaders are adequate, send them to classes (firemen all spend thousands of hours training anyway) to learn how to cope with the issues that are being faced. Why do many departments have enough members and these don’t and other questions need to be asked.
    There are plenty of examples where volunteer departments are flourishing across our great nation without taxation and it can be done in Eastern Washington County as well. Nothing is impossible with an open mind but to just ask for a check has never and will never solve tough issues. I suspect there’s more happening here than just a lack of funding. And that’s the way it appears to this Chappell Hill Resident.

    1. CHR, I also have history in the Chappell Hill inc. subdivision, 35 yrs to be exact.
      This proposal could not be proposed at the worst possible time, politically and economically.
      Most of the older residence in Chappell Hill cannot stand any more taxation.
      Our area has been protected very effectively by the VCHFD. There has been sufficient volunteer contributions, enough to build a new station with a designated EMT area and office. Do you agree that more government oversight and bureaucracy with association salaries is a good thing? I don’t see any improved service related to fire protection. There still remain a limiting factor. Fire protection needs water to fight any type of blaze, there isn’t any. All the water tanks will be dried up in a couple months and will stay that way well into the fall and winter. There has been one house fire in all of my time hear. The VCHFD handled it with a tanker and nearly dry tank.
      This resident of Chappell Hills inc. is quite angered with government trying to make this area better by establishing another government agency ( bureaucracy) to fix something that isn’t broken. All residents will end up with no improved service and six more well paid government employees to fix what isn’t broken. Com’on Man, Give us a break instead of taxes.

  4. Wrong time to ask citizens for another tax in this political climate. Best to wait til we see whom elected President…..

  5. Who will pay this new property tax? Is there a homestead exemption granted, or relief for senior citizens?

    When do we learn if we will be allowed to vote for this new property tax increase?

    1. The questions you have asked can be answered by reading this article.

      There is also a link with the power point slides posted above with the answers to your questions.

    2. All of this info was presented at the town hall meeting. had you attended this all of your questions and many questions asked by the other concerned citizens were answered.

    3. The property owners within the emergency services district will be the only ones paying the additional tax. This does not change anything as far as homestead exemptions or any other exemptions that are applicable to individual parcels. The rate is the same for all owners regardless of age. Once they receive 100 signatures on a petition, it can be submitted to the county commissioners for review and possible placement on the ballot at election time for a public vote. Be sure to fact check what they are telling you and also what I just said as well and then decide.

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