Smith County, Texas- JULY 29, 2019: Smith County Emergency Services District 2 held their monthly board meeting, and discussed the future of fire protection for the district. On the agenda was a resolution to call for an election to implement a sales tax in the district. The rate would be no higher than 1.5% with some areas being 0.5%. The maximum sales tax in the State of Texas is 8.25%. The intended purpose of any revenue generated from the Sales Tax is to place more paid firefighters in the stations of the eleven volunteer fire departments that make up Smith County ESD 2. The ultimate goal is to have paid firefighters at each fire department 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Recently all eleven volunteer fire chiefs voted in support of calling for the election for this purpose. The projected benefits of increasing the staff levels in the fire stations include: Ensuring a faster response time to emergencies, including the ability to put firefighters and equipment on the scene faster. The ability to supplement the volunteers with firefighters to respond to the ever-growing call volume. Every night and weekend a volunteer firefighter is responding to an emergency incident in Smith County. Many times multiple incidents in the same day or night. Puts the fire departments in better position to mitigate the incident faster which results in less property loss, less risk of injuries, and a better chance to save lives. During the board meeting commissioners voted unanimously to call for the election. The commissioners elected to call for the election instead of raising the property tax rate. It was decided that this was a better deal for the residents in the district. Smith County ESD 2 has not raised the property tax rate since its formation in 2007. Town hall meetings will be scheduled throughout the district in the coming months, and more information will be available once the schedule is finalized. Smith County Emergency Services District 2 was formed in 2007 by public referendum, and is the primary funding source for eleven volunteer fire departments in Smith County. These departments include Arp VFD, Bullard VFD, Chapel Hill VFD, Dixie VFD, Flint Gresham VFD, Jackson Heights VFD, Noonday VFD, Red Springs VFD, Troup VFD, Winona VFD, and Whitehouse VFD. Smith County ESD 2 also employs the paid firefighters who work in the volunteer stations Monday-Friday. For more information about how Smith County ESD 2 serves the community or about the Town Hall meeting schedule go to www.smithcountyfire.org, follow the Smith County ESD 2 Facebook page, or call the administration office at 903-617-6578.