The adoption of a local sales and use tax in El Paso County Emergency Services District No. 1
at a rate not to exceed one and one-half percent (1.5%) in any location in the district.
The Board of Commissioners of El Paso County Emergency Services District No. 1 has called for a sales and use tax proposition to be placed on the May 2021 ballot. If approved by voters, the funds will be used to address the needs of the District to address the rapid population and commercial growth in the area.
El Paso County Emergency Services District No. 1 (EPCESD 1, the District), home to Horizon Fire Department (HFD), is the local government entity that funds emergency response for fire protection through the collection of property tax. These taxes fund the two (2) stations, apparatus, and equipment that HFD utilizes to provide fire protection for the community. In turn, HFD provides the personnel to staff the stations and operate the vehicles.
Emergency Services Districts, such as EPCESD 1, are limited by the amount of taxes they can collect by state law at $0.10/$100 valuation of taxable property. Often, this revenue source alone is insufficient to meet the needs of districts to fund emergency response. Emergency Services District (“ESD”) Boards are typically required to seek additional funding outside of property tax.
Through sound fiscal management and good stewardship, the Board of Commissioners of EPCESD 1 has been able to purchase and maintain the current training, apparatus, and equipment needed to protect the community up to this point. However, with the anticipated growth and increase in volume of emergency response calls over the next ten (10) years, it is estimated that the current funding sources will not be sufficient to provide the same level of response EPCESD 1 has been able to provide.
The area serviced by EPCESD 1 has seen tremendous population and commercial growth over the past decade and is projected to continue similar growth trends in the coming decade. The number of single- family homes has increased by 80% since 2010, while commercial development has seen increases of 165%. In direct relation to the growth, the number of calls the District has responded to has increased over the last 10 years. In 2020, Horizon Fire Department responded to over 3,500 calls. By 2030, the department expects to respond to over 6,200 calls per year.
The Board of Commissioners of EPCESD 1 has been working with the Horizon Fire Department administration, staff, and membership to develop a strategic plan for the District to address the growing needs of our community and continue to provide the same level of service to the community. The three goals outlined in the long-range plan are:
To fully realize these goals, additional funding outside of property taxes will be needed, and sales tax is often considered, by districts, as a supplemental revenue stream.
As our community grows, not only does the number of residents grow, but so does the influx of visitors and workers to the District, exponentially increasing the demand for emergency services.
Currently, Horizon Fire Department is funded through EPCESD1-collected property taxes, but they respond to calls that support a greater community of individuals and families, working in, traveling through, or visiting the District. A sales and use tax places some of the funding for growth and response upon non-residents and non-property owners, allowing the District and the service providers to better serve the community as a whole.
The Board of Commissioners has considered several sources of additional funding and the best option would be the use of sales tax in the District. In Texas, the state captures $0.0625 (6.25%) on every dollar spent but allows other local government entities to capture up to $.02 (2%), with a state maximum of
$0.0825 (8.25%), to support community services. If the District levied an up to one and a half percent (1.5%) sales tax, it could supplement the existing funding of emergency services from solely depending on residents’ property taxes to those people traveling to and through the EPCESD 1 community, who may also use local emergency services.
On the map, the blue shaded area is the portion of El Paso County where the District would be able to capture the one and a half percent (1.5%) sales and use tax.
Residents in the non-colored areas are already at the state maximum of eight and a quarter percent (8.25%) sales and use tax. To clarify, no area within the District can go above the state sales and use tax cap because of this election proposition.
Whether or not the sales tax measure passes, the EPCESD 1 Board of Commissioners will continue to work with Horizon Fire Department to serve the residents within the District boundaries, but they will be limited in their ability to address the increasing need for services in the District and implement the long-range plan.
The May 1, 2021 ballot will ask residents to vote for or against a Local Sales and Use Tax, for the entity El Paso County Emergency Services District No. 1. It will read as follows:
“The adoption of a local sales and use tax in El Paso County Emergency Services District No. 1 at a rate not to exceed one and one-half percent (1.5%) in any location in the district.”
Voters will need to be looking for this language if they wish to cast their vote regarding the sales and use tax for EPCESD 1.
Voting schedules and locations for the May 1, 2021 Election can be found at this official El Paso County website:
Use these links to find information on the following topics:
Registering to vote:
El Paso County Emergency Services District No. 1 Board of Commissioners cordially invites you to our Resident Informational Webinar to discuss the upcoming sales and use tax proposition election on the May 2021 ballot. These events will feature exhibits showing the plans and goals for the District, and the Commissioners and our consultants will be present to answer your questions. To prepare yourself for the event, be sure to review posted information regarding the election.
You may select from the dates designated below:
March 30th 7:00pm (MST) April 10th 10:00am (MST)
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
El Paso County ESD 1 and Horizon Fire Department want to provide excellent communication and transparency, and there are several ways to stay up to date about the District.