By CHRIS AGEE
Palo Pinto County Commissioners Tuesday approved an emergency response map for the county in the ongoing debate over the creation of a second emergency services district.
Information about the proposed ESD was first presented to commissioners last month by Santo Fire Chief David Hubbard.
He said Santo EMS responds to a 228-square-mile service area and recommended the sales tax-supported ESD as a way to more efficiently deal with the agency’s calls.
In the intervening weeks, disagreements over the proposed response map have surfaced between Santo and Tri-City EMS officials.
The initial draft included Dunn Drive, which had been covered by Tri-City, within Santo’s district.
Tri-City EMS Chairman Milo Moffitt addressed commissioners last week, lamenting a dearth of information concerning the proposed project.
“We should have been in on this a long time ago,” he said, adding that moving boundaries on the map could set an unintended precedent.He asked, “If you let people start moving boundaries, what’s going to happen when Graford wants an ESD?”
Though Santo EMS President Brian Gordon told Moffitt boundaries are negotiable even after the ESD is formed, commissioners voted to table the issue until the disputes are resolved.
County Judge David Nicklas said Tuesday county officials
and area agencies have discussed the situation extensively, noting Santo and Tri-City EMS staff agreed to allow commissioners to decide boundaries.
During Tuesday morning’s special session, commissioners voted to approve a map that generally reflected existing boundaries. The disputed Dunn Drive area will remain in the Tri-City response area, though service to Mountain River Estates reverts to Santo EMS.
Commissioners discussed the feasibility of setting metes and bounds of the new map and Nicklas explained the process would be both expensive and time-consuming.
County Attorney Phil Garrett will contact a surveyor to assess the project and report back to commissioners concerning the scope and cost of such plotting.